Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mary Ann Armagost, Nebraska Serial Killer - 1892

FULL TEXT: David City, Neb., Sept. 22.— Mrs. Mary Ann Armagost, wife of J. M. Armagost, is under arrest charged with poisoning three people. The alleged victims are A. J . Roberts, who was her first husband, her mother-in-law, Mrs. Armagost, and a step daughter, Hattie, child of her present husband.

Early last June Hattie Armagost suddenly became ill and in a short, time died. Her death was surrounded by many suspicious circumstances. An autopsy was held, but owing to the presence of embalming fluid in the stomach an analysis could not be made.

While this was taking place it was remembered that Mrs. Armagost’s former husband, Roberts, had also died under suspicions circumstances, and that her mother-in-law, mother of her present husband, had likewise died.

It was immediately suggested that their bodies be exhumed and a chemical analysis made of the stomachs. To this Mrs. Armagost objected, but to no purpose.

Roberts died on Feb. U2, 1887, and Mother Armagost on Feb. 11,1890.

In July last the two bodies were exhumed and the stomachs sent to Professor Martin Mueller of Omaha for chemical analysis. He made a long and careful analysis and reported that he had found arsenic in each stomach. The coroner summoned a jury, which was in session several days, and a verdict was rendered to the effect that A. J. Roberts and Mary Ann Armagost came to their death through arsenical poisoning, said poison having been administered by Mrs. Armagost with felonious intent. On Monday the accused was arrested, charged with murder in the first degree.

The three deaths happening in the family in so short a time first aroused suspicion. Hattie was 12 years old at the time of her death. Mrs. Armagost is about 45 years old and has been till now living with her second husband four and one-half miles southwest of Garrison, Butler county, on the farm of her former husband.

The preliminary examination of the accused will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, at 10 a. m., before Judge Dean in this city.

[“Poisoned Her Family. - David City Woman Charged with Wholesale Poisoning. - Three Died Suddenly. - A Husband, Step-Daughter and a Mother-in-law - the Victims - The Accused Woman Under Arrest  Preliminary Examination.” The Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel (Io.), Sep 23. 1892. p. 1]


For more cases of this category, see: Female Serial Killers of 19th Century America (as of January 20, 2014, the collection contains 61 cases)


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