Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kate Gravius, Hot Coal Child Torturer - 1907


FULL TEXT: Kate Gravius, 20 years old, of 213 East Ninety-fifth street, was locked up in the East Eighty-eighth Street Station last night charged with burning two small children, who lived with her, with live coal. The woman, the police say, admits that she burned the children. the compliment in Frank G. Barker, an agent of the Children’s Society.

According to Agent Barker the society received word several days ago from neighbors in the house that two children were being tortured by the Gravius woman. In the letters, Barker said, neighbors said they could hear the children scream and smell burning flesh.

Accompanied by Detective Barker, Barker went to the house that night. They had great difficulty in getting the woman to open the door, and when they did finally get in they found the two children, Nellie and Jennie, 6 and 7 years old, huddled in a corner of the room shivering with fright.

According to the police, the children were burned about the arms and legs. Each of the children, the police say, had a great many small burns on them. Some of the burns had healed, others were merely scars, while others were fresh and had been caused recently.

The children were taken away to the society rooms. When taken to the station the police say the woman said that she lived at house with a man named John Gravius. She did not care for them, she said, and when they became troublesome she dropped hot coals from the stove upon their legs and arms. If they still cried she continued to burn them until they were willing to remain quiet.

The woman had with her a child of about 5 months old which she said was her own. She was locked up in the East 126th Street Station.

The police were able to find the man with whom the woman she lived.

[“Tortured With Fire. – Woman Arrested Confesses to Burning Children with Live Coals.” The New York Times (N.Y.), Jan. 27, 1907, p. ?]

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For more cases, see: Women Who Like to Torture

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