Monday, June 29, 2015

A Czech Husband-Murdering Party – Bohemia, 1871

Note: This brief account appeared in several US newspapers. So far, no more detailed report on these events has been discovered.


FULL TEXT: Four married woman of Podbizka, in Bohemia, were convicted of having poisoned their husbands at a party which one of them had given for that purpose. They were sentenced to penal servitude for life.

[Untitled, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (N.Y.), Mar. 11, 1871, p. 3; Same text:  Pittsburg Post-Gazette, Mar. 4, 1871, p. 1]


For more than two dozen similar cases, dating from 1658 to 2011, see the summary list with links see: The Husband-Killing Syndicates


Madame Bonnefoy’s Family Ahhihilation Escapade – France, 1869

By adhering to the codes of politically correct censorship the experts on domestic violence have allowed a grotesquely false notion to persist among the public that women are not dangerous perpetrators of the massacres which are termed by criminologists “family annihilation.” It is time to end this politically correct hoax.


FULL TEXT: One of the most fearful crimes which has ever been committed in the south of France, took place on the 27th ult. at Marseilles. The following particulars are taken from the local papers:

About half-past five o’clock yesterday morning, as the workmen of the building yard known as the Pharo were proceeding to work, a terrible scene was enacted in a hotel restaurant, kept by M. Bonnefoy. Five pistol shots were heard in succession, and immediately after the attention of the men was directed to the spot by cries of “Help!” and “Murder!” The house was entirely barricaded, and all the keys had been hidden in order to prevent any one from putting a stop to the execution of the crime. A few courageous men soon broke in the door of the restaurant, while some others got in by a window on the first floor, which had been opened by Bonnefoy. Here is what had taken place a few moments before: At about the hour mentioned above, Madame Bonnefoy had risen as usual, and descended into the kitchen to make the coffee. But instead of lighting the fire she went into the shop, where, with her back against the door and a six barreled revolver in her hand, she waited till the rest of the family came down stairs. The first person who presented herself was her sister Annette, against whom she had lately conceived a violent hatred, in consequence of some attentions paid her by one of the customers of the house, who, it turns out, was Madame Bonnefoy’s lover. She bad no sooner descended the last staircase than Madame Bonnefoy sent a bullet into her breast. Without stopping to look at her victim, the murderess bounded up-stairs into the room where her own three children were sleeping. She first approached the cradle of the youngest, a boy of five years. She bent down, put the pistol to his heart, and fired. The noise of the fire immediately aroused the other two children, whose bed was by the side of the cradle. She again cocked her weapon.

“Mother, mother,” murmured the elder, what are you doing’?”

“Do not be afraid,” replied the wretched woman, “you have nothing to fear, all the money will be for you.”

And placing the revolver near the other child’s heart she fired, telling the elder child to be off.

The boy went down stairs trembling. The mother followed. On reaching the shop the woman took another staircase leading to the bedroom of her husband. Bonnefoy, aroused by the pistol shots and shrieks of his sister-in-law Annette, had put on his clothes and was about to descend, when he met his wife. Without saying a word she raised the revolver and fired, sending a bullet into his stomach. Having finished her butchery the murderess now determined to shoot herself. She bad already recocked the revolver, and was holding it toward her head, when her boy ran into the room crying,

“Mother — oh, mother, what are you going to do?”

“Hold your tongue, will you,” was her reply; “ I have spared you and you will be rich.”

Placing her finger on the trigger, she fired, and lodged a bullet in her own head and fell insensible on the ground. Medical assistance was soon at hand, and the victims forthwith taken to the hospital. Strange to say, none of them were killed, although all of them are seriously wounded. Operations were immediately performed to extract the bullets, but in the cases of the youngest child and the father the doctors have not vet succeeded, and it is feared that they cannot live long. The wretched author of the tragedy is the least in danger. The motives which led to the crime appear to be partly jealousy and partly remorse. Madame Bonnefoy has for a long time past led a very irregular life. Frequent dissections in the family were the consequence, and the girl Annette always sided with the husband. A day or two before the crime a quarrel had taken place in the restaurant between the customer above alluded to and Bonnefoy, at which Madame Bonnefoy was present. It was noticed that the woman was touched with remorse at her guilty conduct, and, from letters which she wrote during the night, it appears she thereupon determined to make a holocaust of the whole family, including her lover. Why she spared the child may be easily conjectured.

[“A Desperate Woman.” Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 37, Number 5723, 31 July 1869, p. 2]


A different report states that the husband and the two children later died from their wounds.

[“Great Crimes in France.” The Evening Telegraph (Philadelphia, Pa.), Sep. 16, 1871, p. 7]



Sunday, June 28, 2015

“Old Mother” Djao, Chinese Serial Killer Bandit - 1924

Note: Although this source mentions only the final moments of this bandit’s career involving a large-scale massacre, it is presumed that her “bloodthirsty” banditry involved multiple earlier murders.


FULL TEXT: Shanghai, July 27 – “Old Mother” Djao, said to be the most notorious and blood-thirsty bandit the province of Shantung ever produced, has been executed at Irhowfu, in Shantung, according to reports received in Shanghai by mission organizations. These advices add that the dreaded feminine bandit underwent that most fearsome of Chinese death penalties, the ling-che, or, in English, the slicing process. [aslso kmown as “death by a thoudsand cuts].

Forty-seven years old and an expert horsewoman, “Old Mother’’ Djao led a band of several hundred out-laws who terrorized a broad area. It is related of her that last summer she planned an attack against Ichowfu after calling to her aid two added groups of bandits. They had assembled at a place near the village of Balihsiang when a homeguard of villagers, known as the “Big Knife Society.” Apprised of their purpose, attacked them and suffered utter defeat.

~ Not a Person or Animal Spared. ~

The villagers were driven back into Balihsiang and the bandits followed them. Then the gates of the village were closed and every man was shot down. Sixty women and children then were lined up, and “Old Mother” Djao was asked what to do with them. Her orders to kill them all were carried out with the result that every man, woman and child who was within the walls after the gates had been closed was slain. Even the cattle and dogs of the village suffered the same fate.

Llng-che is simply vivisection done by experts. In such a manner that the victim survives In a conscious state through hours of a terrible ordeal.

[“’Old Mother’ Djao Punished by Being Cut to Pieces While Still Alive.” The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York, N.,Y.), Sep. 2, 1924, p. 7]


For similar cases, see: Female Serial Killer Bandits


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Baby Farming in England – Described in 1923

The following article discusses the case of Daisy Ellen Chivers and the serial killer sisters, Amelia Sach and Annie Walters (1902). The case involving “James and Wallis, man and woman” has not yet been identified.


FULL TEXT: The tragic fate of the unwanted child has grown to be a serious social problem in England, especially during and since the war. How many hundreds of these hapless infants who come into the world unsought, and when they, do arrive are uncared for and ill-treated until death ends their sufferings, no statistics will ever reveal. It is chiefly from mothers in the upper and middle class circles of society that they spring, but they are transplanted almost immediately into most vicious baby farming rings, bartered for a few pounds, and destined not to live long enough to cause a loss to those who adopt them.


Organisations for their welfare multiply, but still the toll of infant life continues under most nefarious conditions. Very few cases of deliberate murder have been legally established in the last quarter of a century, but there are thousands of others in which the professional baby farmer has accomplished her cruel designs without bringing herself within the meshes of the law. The details of heartless cruelties developed at recent trials of professional ‘baby farmers’ have stirred all England. Take the case of a woman in the west of England, kindly, benevolent soul to all outward appearance, living in a respectable suburb, who answered advertisements by the score for someone to give motherly care to children [the reference id to Daisy Chivers]. She conceived a refined idea of murder. Before the first pound of the £20 or £40 received had been expended the child’s doom was settled.


She was careful to give the victims entrusted to her charge plenty of food, to keep the surroundings of the home cleanly, and apparently to be stow upon the mites an affection which disarmed suspicion. But her hand guided them to their little graves certainly and surely. On a bleak day when a keen east wind was chilling the warmest clad folk to the marrow, she was wont to take the children by turns into the garden to give them an airing. Her visits were prolonged by protracted chats with neighbors over the wall and soon underneath the solitary wrap covering the baby in her arms there was a potential victim to bronchitis and pneumonia.Three such deaths occurred within a few weeks, all due to natural causes, as the doctor who was called in at the last minute was bound to certify. It was a much less dangerous way of sacrificing life than stinting the infants in food or leaving them unattended, but it was none the less effectual as the means to the end which was undoubtedly in the mind of the unscrupulous foster-mother. It was, of course, deliberate murder in each case, but there was no means of proving if. Cases like this and many involving fiendish cruelty have recently been engaging the attention of the police and officials of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The cases are many and varied in their wickedness.


There was an instance a few years ago where the proprietor of a children’s home was summoned to court for neglecting one of the inmates. It transpired in the evidence that there was a child in the home for whom, a sum of over five hundred pounds had been deposited. This was one of the unwanted children from the upper classes, the father being a member of a titled family. The manager of the home greedily took the money, promised every care to the infant — and left it in filth and neglect like a deserted animal. Some of the most serious cases have been those affecting children who were adopted. Sach and Walters were women who adopted children and made away with them. The women received various sums of money. They were convicted and sentenced to death. James and Wallis, man and woman, were both both similarly caught and convicted of seeking babies for adoption and murdering them. They were sentenced to death. These people were in the habit of adopting children. The Wallis woman smothered one child in a railway carriage shortly after receiving it, so much in a hurry was she to get rid of the little one.


There have been many other serious cases, in all of which it has been proved that there are numbers of people anxious to get rid of children and willing to pay considerable sums of money to accomplish their pur pose. Knowing this, callous and mercenary people have made a business of adoptions, with no desire or intention to care for the children who  pass into their hands. As the result of experience, there is a movement to enact a law that all adoptions should be registered, and that all children adopted should be subject to regular and systematic visitation. Various motives have been found to prompt people who offer to adopt children. There are those who, obviously, have no other desire than that of providing a good home and caring for any child who may be en trusted to them. These are generally people, without families, or who have lost a child. Others think of adopting a child much as they would of taking a canary, or buying a dog. It is a passing mood, and they tire as quickly of one as of the other. A case that illustrates the ease with which children can be disposed of and, incidentally, the perils lurking behind an advertisement, is that of a girl who was in a home in London, and who, as the result of an advertisement in a religious paper offering ‘a good Christian home,’ was adopted by a woman of independent means living in or near Worcester. For a time the child was treated properly. Afterward she was made to do most of the work in a twelve roomed house, rising between five and six in the morning, and never going to bed until midnight. She was found with thirty-four scars on her body, many of a terrible nature; she still bears some of the marks.


In 1911 the woman who adopted the girl and a man who horsewhipped her were sent to prison for two years with hard labor, the maximum punishment under the Children Act. The case created an enormous sensation. The custody of the girl was given to the children’s society; she is now a young woman doing well, but suffering in health from the treatment she received nine years ago. Advertisements in newspapers are very useful to people who have no desire beyond that of evading their responsibilities in respect to their children. Two people, the man fifty years of age (married), the woman thirty-two (single), were living together. In September this year a child was born to them. The man advertised in a London morning paper asking someone to adopt the baby ‘for love.’ There was a reply from people who wanted a boy to be brought up with their little girl. The child has a good home, and will no doubt be well looked after, but neither the father nor the mother is contributing to its maintenance. It is known that two other children have been disposed of by this same couple in the same way, no inquiries having been made by them as to the suitability of either home.


This haphazard method of disposing of children is common. Some years ago most of the reputable newspapers discontinued advertisements. This rule has been relaxed since the war, but lately, on bringing facts to the notice of the the proprietors of some papers, such advertisements are again excluded. It would be one of the further advantages resulting from the legalising of adoption, and setting up an authority for the purpose, if the practice of advertising could be abolished. Children are frequently disposed of in most casual ways. About the month of November, 1918, a woman calling at the registry office on other business found there the names of people willing to adopt a child. Without, apparently, making any attempt to satisfy herself that her illegitimate boy would be well treated she placed it with a man and woman who consented to take the child without pay ment. In less than a month the boy, only four years old, was found to be a mass of bruises, after being, so the inspector discovered, frightfully beaten with a belt. The doctor who gave evidence in the court said that never in the course of his twenty-five years’ practice had he seen such a case of brutal ill-treatment. Peculiar ideas are held as to agreements by many people who make them. They appear to think that by signing a paper they have performed a legal and binding act. A lazy and neglectful father disposed of his boy and his wife at the same time. The document in this case was:


“I. A. B., do hereby state that I leave my household goods to my wife C. D. Also that I have received £1 off E. F. so that he shall take to my wife and keep them.


There are many cases in which children who are adopted without money payments are exposed to grave moral danger. A woman was sent to prison for a month for aiding and  abetting the keeping of a disreputable resort. She was also prosecuted, under the Children Act, in respect of her adopted daughter, who was exposed to the risk of being ruined. A girl aged ten years who was adopted by distant relatives was made to. sleep with a lodger aged 60, a man addicted to drink. She was ill-treated and beaten until the society intervened, when the girl was removed to the home of the parents. A man, lazy and uninclined to work, and whose wife was of idle habits, lived in a scantily furnished and filthy home. They advertised, and adopted a healthy illegitimate baby a fortnight old. They were promised £20 with the child, but received only £5. On receiving a complaint a police inspector made a visit, and found the child, then nineteen months old, very thin, dirty, and in great pain through a large swelling in the groin. The child was removed to the infirmary, afterward taken away by relatives, and soon died. The people who adopted the child were sent to prison for three months. A feature of this case was that their own child, despite their surroundings, was well looked after. This is a common experience — the child of the family cared for, the adopted child neglected. There is no case in the court records where this condition has been reversed.


Considerable sums of money are obtained by people with children whom they adopt, though in many cases the children do not reap any benefit. A man and his wife adopted ten children for sums ranging from £5 to £50. It was proved that several thousand pounds had been received by these people, who were prosecuted by the authorities for failing to notify the reception of the children as required under the provisions of the Children’s Act. Five of the children were never allowed out of doors. It has always been part of the adoption agents’ scheme of operation to have babies handed over at railway stations, much of the difficulty in tracing children being due to this fact. One woman in Lancashire, well known to the authorities, and more than once prosecuted for various offences in connection with nursing children, has long been in the habit of sending young children to the north by night trains.


Most of the transactions of her agents are carried out at railway stations. Documents relating to this woman and her doings run into hundreds of folios. Bearing all this in mind, it is somewhat disquieting to learn that the recently formed societies are carrying out the transfer of some of their children at stations. The chief constable of a northern city, with an inspector of the children’s society, interviewed two women who had been seen with children, and the chief constable told them they would be detained until he found out what had become of two children they had disposed of at the railway station. They then gave particulars, though admitting that they very seldom went to see what the homes were like be fore the children were handed over. The attendant at the waiting room stated that the two women came to the room about 10 am., carrying a baby, and remained there until 10:30, when two other women came with a girl, apparently about twelve years old. There was some conversation; the baby was handed over to one of the women, who took it away. No money passed, and no paper was signed.


The two women who arrived first at the waiting room then left, returning shortly afterward with a young woman about twenty years old, who was carrying a baby. She told the woman the child was six weeks old. There was some talk, papers were put on the table, and money was passed. The young, girl went away much affected by parting from her baby. There is an agitation to have a law passed providing for the visitation of adopted children by the Ministry of Health. This reform, if it can be brought about, will greatly hearten those who have for years been striving to mitigate, if not to entirely remove, the grave evils surrounding the subject of child adoption.

[“England’s Unwanted Babies. - The Pitiful Plight Of Helpless Children. - Ingenious Refinements of Cruelty :: Many Masked Schemes of Murder :: Helpless Little Ones Suffer - Lingering Deaths :: Cold-Blooded Actions of Heartless Imposters :: Crusade Against , Professional Baby Farming.” The Mirror (Perth, WA, Australia), Nov. 10, 1923, p. 5]



For more cases of “Baby Farmers,” professional child care providers who murdered children see The Forgotten Serial Killers.


Laura Hawkins & Nittie Van Sarver, Cynical Baby Farmers – USA 1917

Note: Although this story describes only a single death (through starvation and neglect), the account is quite valuable is providing a picture of the experience of a typical victim of a manipulative baby farmer. This utterly heartbreaking account of the brief life, exploitation and death baby Bolan and the hellish experience the mother was put through by unaccountable “helpers” is the same story that has been repeated hundreds of thousands of times.


FULL TEXT: Philadelphia, Pa. – Refusing to entertain a motion for a new trial, although Attorney John Robb, counsel for the defendant argued for over a half hour, Judge Carpenter today sentenced Mrs. Niettie Van Sarver, convicted “baby farmer,” to pay a fine of $100 and costs. Mr. Robb first tried to get the costs taken from his client, then asked for a new trial. Hot words passed between him and Judge Carpenter when the attorney said, “A new trial should be given, as your honor instructed the jury by letter on this case.”

“That is not true!” said Judge Carpenter.

“I have it direct from the jurors,” said Mr. Robb.

“The juror who says that does not speak the truth,” said the judge, “the jury sent in to ask the definition of a word and I gave it – that is all. Besides, it is not any of your business what the jury asks me.”

Mrs. Laura Hawkins, convicted on the same charges upon which Mrs. Van Sarver was given a trial, made a motion for a new trial, made a motion for a new trial through her attorney, Ralph Tannehill. It will be argued later. She was released in $1,000 bail. The women were to have appeared in court at 9:30 a. m. to receive sentence, but neither came till after 10 o’clock.


After a trial, during which girls told of taking their babies to Mrs. Van Sarver for her to find homes for them, women told of obtaining babies from the same woman through “ads” in the newspapers, and a policeman, Mrs. Ida Forsaith, told how, during her investigation of the case, Mrs. Van Sarver offered her the position as assistant, saying she should make from $50 to $75 a week. Mrs. Van Server was convicted of a misdemeanor for which she could be fined but not imprisoned. Wednesday of this week Mrs. Hawkins was convicted on two charges. Both women were accused of conducting a baby farm without a license and of trafficking in infants. Mrs. Van Sarver yesterday was placed in charge of her counsel, Attorney John Robb, without bail.

One of the most pitiful features of the case was the bitter disappointment of Mary Bolan of Arnold, aged 24, who was the principal witness against Mrs. Hawkins. Mary told how her baby was born in August. 1913; how she saw an “ad” in a newspaper that a young couple wanted to adopt a baby and how, on the strength of the “ad” she took the baby to Mrs. Hawkins. According to Mary’s story, Mrs. Hawkins said she would raise the baby as her own, provided Mary would give her $50 for lawyer’s fees for adoption proceedings.


Mary could pay only $30, she said. Since Mary placed the baby, aged 6 weeks, Mrs. Hawkins’ care, she has not seen it. Repeatedly she wrote and telephoned Mrs. Hawkins, asking to see the baby, but was refused, she said. Letters were read in court alleged to have been written Mrs. Hawkins, in which she threatened Mary with the possibly sending the child to a charitable institution unless of Mary paid the rest of the money.

Mary says she then asked Mrs. Hawkins to giver the baby back, but Mrs. Hawkins would not do it. Mary came to the trial and testified, thinking all the time that now she would see the little one restored to her arms. She asked Mrs. Hawkins in the courtroom to tell her where the baby was, but Mrs. Hawkins turned her back on the pleading girl.


The baby had died May 15, 1916, and no person had the courage to tell the poor little mother until yesterday, Detective Homer Crooks, unable to stand the wistful pleading of her inquiries, kindly and gently told her that she would never see her baby again. Ay first Mary could not believe it. Then she cried, and cried, and cried all afternoon. “I never would have left the baby only she said it would have a good home.” she sobbed over and over. “She told me she would care for it better than I could. She said she would give it a good home.” So sure was Mary been that she would get her baby, that she had purchased, at the noon recess, some pretty little garments for the child.

The history of the baby, as traced, is as follows: Mary gave the baby to Mrs. Hawkins, Oct. 12, 1915. Mrs. Hawkins gave the baby to Mrs. Sarver Oct. 15. Mrs. Sarver advertised in the papers for parents to adopt a baby. Mrs. Quinn answered the “ad” and received the baby Nov. 1. Mrs. Quinn brought the baby back to Mrs. Van Sarver in a few weeks and the juvenile court took it Jan. 5, 1916. “Why didn’t Mrs. Hawkins let me have it back when she didn’t want it?” is Mary’s wail. “She could have had the $30. I’ll never forget what they made my baby suffer.”

[Gertrude Gordon, “’Baby Farmer’ Funed; Another Asks New Trial,” The Pittsburg Press (Pa.), Feb. 24, 1917, p. 1]


For more cases of “Baby Farmers,” professional child care providers who murdered children see The Forgotten Serial Killers.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Henrietta Bamberger, St. Louis “Wholesale Murderess” - 1899

FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 3): St. Louis, Nov. 18. – If the charges against Midwife [Henrietta] Bamberger are true, she is one of the greatest criminals in the history of the world. Sworn statements accuse her of killing no less than 300 women and infants during her career in St. Louis.

The grand jury has returned one indictment for murder and four for manslaughter against her. her resort, on Chouteau avenue, was a veritable charnel house, it is said, where unfortunate girls met death and where infants were killed and then burned to destroy evidence of horrible crimes. Sworn statements in support of these charges have been made by Lizzie Rieger, Mary Haar And Katie Bleckinger, who reside now at 1829 South Tenth street,  but were formerly employed in Mrs. Bamberger’s house. As a result of this testimony, Mrs. Bamberger has been indicted for murder in the first degree on specific charges, and, besides, there is an indictment pending against her for manslaughter in the first degree and on three other charges.

The sworn statements of the three women charge that among some of Mrs. Bamberger’s victims was Louisa Miller, whose body was found in the Meramec river, near Luxembourg. The witnesses claim that Mrs. Baumberger packed this girl’s body in a trunk, paid an expressman $50 to haul it away from her house and with her own hands threw the trunk from the wagon into the Meramec river from a bridge.

Lizzie Bessert disappeared in September, 1897, but her body was never found. It is charged that it was buried in Mrs. Bainberger’s cellar.

A Bohemian woman, who lived near Ninth and Southard streets, is said to have been disposed of in the same manner.

Miss Colekamp (or Kulkamp), a girl of Mexico, Mo., died in March, 1894, and her death has never been explained.

Ida New, of Marino, Ill., died April 3, 1894, in the Bamberger house.

A child of Mrs. Dugan, of Thirteenth street and Blair avenue, also died there.

It is also charged that bogus certificates were secured to bury some of the victims, that a fake doctor on South Broadway issued the certificates for $50 in each case. The authorities worked up the present case against Mrs. Baumberger as a result of the expose that 37-year-old Wilhelmena Spoeri, of 3432 Illinois avenue, met death in the resort. Mrs. Baumberger and John B. Texler, the young man in the case, were arrested at the same time, and their trial comes up next Wednesday. These facts developed in the Spoeri affair, enabled the authorities to dig up other alleged crimes. All of the cases specified above are sworn to by the three young women mentioned.

[“Wholesale Murderess – St. Louis Midwife Charged With an Awful List of Crimes. They May Aggregate Fully 300 – Children and Young Women Killed In Her Resort – And Were Buried Secretly.” The Pittsburg Press (Pa.), Nov. 19, 1899, p. 2]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Mrs. Henrietta Bamberger, midwife, of 919 Chouteau avenue, St. Louis, Mo., is a murderous fiend in woman’s form, a life-taking monster, slaying women and babies under the cloak of a ministering physician, if the evidence on which the grand jury indicted her recently be true. The testimony of four persons stamps her as a degenerate of the Holmes type, a murderess, brutal as Mrs. Nack, a creature without an atom of humanity in her heart.

She burned and drowned babes, and killed young women and disposed of their bodies. One she carted off in an express wagon and cast into a river.

Another she buried in the cellar or her own stable, a third she buried under a fictitious name from her own house. Eye-witnesses have testified to the crimes. They charge that as many as four babes were burned in one day and the total number of these crimes charged by the witnesses is almost incredible. The details of the specific killing alleged against Mrs. Bamberger are almost past belief. The woman stands indicted for four murders. One is a murder in the first degree; the others manslaughter. Information alleging other crimes is being investigated. The Chouteau avenue house will be thoroughly searched for further evidence. The cellar will be searched for traces of craves. Any number of crimes that may be alleged against the woman would not surprise the officials who have been engaged in bringing about her indictment. The crimes charged in the indictments were committed durlne the last five years. Mrs. Bambereer was in business in the same house many years before that.

It is not probable that her motnoas were ever different from the present.

The testimony on which the indictments were found was given by women formerly in Mrs. Bamberger’s employ as nurses or servants. This testimony is corroborated in part by material evidence, such as jewelry and clothing worn by the victims, and a photograph of one of them. The young women who are said to have died through Mrs. Bamberger’s instrumentality, dis appeared from their homes and none has been heard of by relatives since.

The discovery of the true character of Mrs. Bambereer’s business and tho crimes for which she now stands indicted was made by accident. An inkling the murders reached the office of Circuit Attorney Eggers six months ago. He made an investigation. The developments corroborated his first information. He applied to the police department for assistance. Detectives Lally and Harrington wore assigned.

Since that time Mr. Eggers, his assistant, Mr. Hodgdon and Detectives Lally and Harrington have worked in conjunction to unearth the crimes charged. They encountered many obstacles and overcame seemingly impassable barriers in the investigation.

The other day they had placed before the grand jury sufficient evidence to warrant indictments. Mrs. Bamberger was arrested by the detectives, who merely told her that the chief of police wanted to see her. Mrs. Bamberger was locked up in the holdover.

Subsequently Mr. Eggers swore out a bench warrant for her and the woman was
placed in jail. The evidence is considered almost sufficient as it now stands, but the circuit attorney and the detectives are working to secure additional corroboration. It is charged that Mrs. Bamberger committed the crimes for hire. It was her business in perform operations and destroy evidences of this business. Women from far and near placed themselves under her care. Under the circumstances which surrounded the contracts between Mrs. Bamberger and her patients it is reasonable to suppose that the patients did not tell friends and relatives of the compacts. Consequently when one of the patients died, her relatives were not notified. She was considered missing. Mrs. Bamberger’s former nurses declare that as many as twenty patients were treated in one day. They say thousands of babes were burned. This latter statement is considered extravagant. Lizzie Rieger, the chief witness, declared that she saw five babies burned in one day.

She said hundreds of infants that she did not see were destroyed. She declared that Mrs. Bamberger tossed one infant into a tub of water and then grasping it by the neck, choked it and held it under water several minutes. Lyda Bressert went, according to the story, to Mrs. Bamberger for treatment in September, 1897. Mrs. Bamberger locked her in one of the rooms to smother her cries, that they might not be heard from the street.

The nurse was at Lyda’s side while the latter died. The nurse declared that Mrs. Bamberger tied the girl’s arms across her breast with a towel and swore like a fiend because she said she would have to pay “him” another $50 to get rid of that one. Mary Hohlcamp of Mexico, Mo., the witnesses say, died from an operation some time early in November. 1896. The nurses declare that the girl asked Mrs. Bamberger to notify her parents at Mexico should she die, but that Mrs. Bamberger did nothing of the kind. Annie Zimmerman of Marine, Ill., became a patient at the Bamberger house in October, 1894. An operation was performed and the girl died some days later. The nurses declare that Mrs. Bamberger doubled up the corpse, placed it in a trunk and had it carried to the Merrimac river, they say.

Unlocked the trunk, liftef th body out alone, und heaved it over tho bridge railing into the water. Names of those known to the circuit attorney:

Infant (mother not positively known), strangled and drowned in 1895 and body burned in a range. Lyda Bressert, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Bressert of 2113 Madison street, in September, 1897, and buried in cellar under Mrs. Bamberger’s stable.

Mary or Ida Zimmerman of Marine, Ill., died in October, 1894, body thrown into the Merrimac river and buried by St. Louis county authorities as an unidentified suicide.

Mary Kohlcamp of Mexico, Mo., died in November, 1896. buried by the undertaking firm of Henry C. Meyer & Co., 905 Chouteau avenue, St. Louis, as Mollie Jackson, Nov. 16.

Mrs. Wilhelmlna Spoerl of 3432 Illinois avenue, St. Louis, died at her home, July 11, 1899, after treatment by Mrs. Bamberger on July 1.

The house is a three-story brick structure, and stands back from the pavement and there is a side yard. The building is dingy on the outside. There is no front entrance. There is a small porch on the side of the house. The door hear leads into a hall at the foot of a stairway. Doors open from this hall into the parlor and into the second room. There are nine rooms in the house, three on each floor. The front room on the first floor was furnished as a parlor in plain style. The second room was the operating room.

There was an operating table in the apartment. A corner at the back of the house is cut off by a porch, which gives the kitchen less width than the other rooms. Doors from this porch lead into the middle room and into a hall that runs between the kitchen and the building wall. This hall runs from a door opening into the rear yard to the door opening into the middle room.

It was in this hall that the baby was strangled and drowned. There was one witness in the kitchen and an other in the hall when the murderess committed the deed. A back stair
way runs up from this hall.

The party of officials ascended the front stairway, preceded by Kinzle.

They had inquired of the latter the location of his mother’s instruments and he had told them that he knew nothing about his mother’s possessions. Mrs. Bamberger declares that she is innocent. She asserts that the evidence against her is false, and that it was inspired by motives of revenge.

[“Her Fiendish Crimes - Terrible Criminal Record Of  A Female Butcher. - Killed Little Innocents by the Score to Hide Other Deeds or Lesser Evil - Henrietta Bamberger of St. Louis Believed to Be a Monstrosity.” Kansas Agitator (Garnet, Ks.), Dec. 22, 1899, p. 2]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): St. Louis, Mo., March 16. – The jury in the case of Mrs. Henrietta Bamberger, the midwife, today returned a verdict of guilty of the charge of manslaughter and fixed her punishment at five years in the penitentiary. It was charged that she caused the death of Wilhelmina Spechir [or, Spoeri], a girl who came to Mrs. Bamberger for relief.

[“Mrs. Bamberger Gets Five Years.” The Witchita Daily Eagle (Ks.), Mar. 17, 1900, p. 8]



Veuve Chartier, French Midwife Accused of Murdering 1,500 Babies – 1906

FULL TEXT: London, December 26. – The fears of the Paris police that whole sale murdering of infants had been carried on in a maternity home in the city, to which their attention had been directed, have been realised to a shocking degree. In a sudden descent on the home the police found a stove, which had evidently been used for the ghastly work of consuming the bodies of murdered infants. A closer examination of the premises has now been made, and this has revealed evidence from which it is estimated that 1500 infants have been cremated in the home.

[“Paris Horror. - 1500 Infants Cremated.” Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (Albury, NSW, Australia), Dec. 28, 1906, p. 28]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 3): Paris Jan. 12 – A Paris maternity nurse and her servant have been arrested on a charge of having murdered more thirst 100 infants within the last twelve months. A second charge is that a score of women have died in her house as the result at illicit operations.

The bodies of the infants are believed to have been burned in a large stove and it is stated that medical man who was the woman’s accomplice will shortly be arrested.

The accused worsen lived in the neighborhood of the National Library and received into her home women on the eve of maternity. This had gone on for considerable time and the midwife had acquired a large clientele.

~ Discovered by Accident. ~

A short time ago M. Labat, the commissary of the Vivienne quarter a visit from a banker who complained of the loss of a jewel of great value and brought direct charge of stealing it against a woman who had suddenly broken off relations with him. The commissary ordered a search to be for the woman, and finally she was found in the house of the midwife. She was questioned and protested her innocence. What struck the police however absence of the infant to which she had just given birth and they remarked that, although there were in the house four woman lodgers in a state of convalescence, there was not a trace of a single child.

On the circumstances being reported to the commissary, he summoned the midwife to his office and interrogated her but to all his questions she opposed a obstinate silence. The commissary consequently sent inspectors to question people in the house, and it was ascertained that within a year more than 100 pensionnaires had been received, besides occasional visitors but that a child had never been seen in the house.

~ The Mystery Solved. ~

A search warrant was obtained tad in house were found instrument at drugs which corroborated the inferences drawn from the earlier inquiries. The mystery of the disappearance of the newborn infants remained unsolved until the commissary turned his attention to a large stove in the dining-room.  Examination of this led to the belief that the woman had been in the habit of cutting up the bodies and burning them. It would appear that more than 100 little bodies had thus been reduced to in this stove.

The midwife and her servant was taken into custody in spite of their obstinate dentals. Further developments are certain and numerous other arrests are likely to be the consequence. Several women who availed themselves of services of the midwife are known will be followed up

[“Ogress Chops Infants Into Bits and Puts Them Into Stove - Discovered Accidentally - Paris Police on Track of a Missing Jewel Stumble Across Sensational Crime - Over One Hundred Children Said to Have Been Cremated in the Last Twelve Months.” The Washington Herald (D.C.), Jan. 13, 1907, p. 3]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 3): The Paris newspapers report a horrible discovery in a maternity house kept by a midwife near the National library. According to the Journal, the police commissary of the Vivienne quarter found a stove built into one of the walls of the establishment in which newly-born infants were cremated.

The Paris correspondent of the London “Times” of December 28 says:—

The particulars of the horrible crime which has just been discovered here recall. The old-time histories of the ogres who devoured little children. It is affirmed, indeed, that more than a thousand bodies of infants have been burned in a “salamandre” stove by one of those criminal midwives known here as les faisseuses d’angès [angel-makers]. The alleged facts are as follows :—

A bank clerk, Léon de Re, was suspected a short time ago of having embezzled a sum of 16,000 francs {£610}. But before being arrested he was watched by detectives. They discovered that he went almost daily to a house in the Rue Trqaetonne [sp. ?] to see a young girl whom he bad placed there with a midwife, Mme. Veuve Chartier. When, a few days later, the girl returned to De Re’s rooms and remained for sometime ill in bed, the police commissionary suspected that there had been some malpractice. On being questioned she confessed that see had undergone an operation for producing abortion. De Re and Mme. Chartier were arrested. They denied all collusion in criminal practices, bat the girl insisted, and her assertions were corroborated by those of Mme. Chartier’s maidservant. The latter told an extraordinary story. The product of the abortion was burned, according to her, in the salamandre” stove. It had had more than 150 predecessors during the past year. The “salamandre” was immediately placed under seals, together with the obstetric appurtenances discovered in the apartment. While the case of De Re’s mistress was being investigated, various other affairs of the same kind were discovered. The police got on the track of a woman agent for the midwife, and it is rumored that several doctors are implicated. This is the point reached thus far by the authorities in their investigation of the affair.

[“Alleged Murders of Newborn Infants.” The Western Star (Roma, Australia), Feb. 16, 1907, p. 4]


[New revised title of this UHoM post replaces: “Vivienne Midwife,” Serial Killer of 120 Children – 1906]




For more cases of “Baby Farmers,” professional child care providers who murdered children see The Forgotten Serial Killers.