Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Badger Game: A Con Game Directed Against Males

Wikipedia: The badger game is an extortion scheme, often perpetrated on married men, in which the victim or "mark" is tricked into a compromising position to make him vulnerable to blackmail.

There are two competing explanations for the origin of the term badger game. One explanation is that the term originated in the practice of badger baiting. Another says that it derives its name from the state of Wisconsin (the Badger State), where the con allegedly either originated or was popularized.

This con has been around since at least the early 19th century. There are several variations of the con; in the most typical form an attractive woman approaches a man, preferably a lonely, married man of some financial means from out of town, and entices him to a private place with the intent of maneuvering him into a compromising position, usually involving some sort of sexual act. Afterward an accomplice presents the victim with photographs, video, or similar evidence, and threatens to expose him unless blackmail money is paid.

The woman may also claim that the sexual encounter was non-consensual and threaten the victim with a rape charge. It can also involve such things as the threat of a sexual harassment charge which may endanger the victim's career.

In the days before photography or video, the accomplice would usually burst into the room during the act, claiming to be the woman's husband, father, older brother, etc., and demand justice. The con was particularly effective in the 19th and earlier 20th century when the social repercussions of adultery were much greater. A famous person known to have been victimized by the scheme was Alexander Hamilton, whose adulterous affair with Maria Reynolds was used by her husband to extort money and information from him.

Variants of the con involve luring the mark with homosexual acts, underage girls, child pornography, bizarre sexual fetishes, or other activities deemed to have a particular social stigma.

Another form involves accusations of professional misconduct. In an example of this form of the con, a "sick" woman would visit a physician, describing symptoms that required her to disrobe for the examination, require the doctor to examine the genitals, or ensure similar scrutiny from the doctor. During the examination an "outraged husband" or "outraged father" would enter the room and accuse the doctor of deviant misconduct. The "sick" woman, who is of course part of the con, takes the side of her accomplice and threatens the doctor with criminal charges or a lawsuit. This form of the badger game was first widely publicized in an article in the August 25, 1930 edition of Time magazine.

Non-sexual versions of this con also exist, particularly among ethnic or religious groups with strong social taboos; for example coercing a Mormon to gamble or drink alcohol.

The badger game has been featured as a plot device in numerous books, movies and television shows.

[Wikipedia pull article: link]
SEE also: an excellent very brief illustrated article on The Badger Game on The National Night Stick



1673 – Mary Carleton (AKA Mary Moder, “The German Princess”) – Germany & England
1885 – Name Unknown – Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
1878 – Sophie Lyons – Boston, Mass., USA
1886 – Ollie P. Ellis (“The California Dutchess,” "Chicago Daisy") – USA
1891 – Annie Davis & Alice Oates – New York, New York, USA
1892 – Netta Heiland & Bridgett Reilly – New York, New York, USA
1892 – Lillie King – Memphis, Tennessee, USA
1896 – Fayne Moore – England, France, USA
1901 – Rosalind Ella Hewett – Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
1902 – Theresa Ray –  Boston, Massachusetts, USA
1907 – May Churchill, “Chicago May” – USA, England, France
1910 – Florence Knott (“Flossie Bennett”) – Washington, D. C., USA
1910 – Florence Burns Wildrick – New York, New York, USA
1910s – Buda Godman – Chicago, Il. & New York, N. Y., USA
1911 – May Richards Barr Seattle, Washington, USA
1914 – May Dugas – International
1916 – Helen Evers – Chicago, Illinois, USA
1918 – Margaret Hirsch – Atlanta, Georgia, USA
1919 – Betty Inch – New York, New York, USA
1934 – Mary Coats
1935 – Broadway shakedown rackets – New York, New York, USA
1951 – Jean Lee – Australia





Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Henrietta Weibel, aged 13, "The Baby Burner" - New York, 1874

Note: Cases such as this one, in which a child is the perpetrator of but one actual murder, yet shows an inclination to commit further murders, are included in our inventory, not to inflate the numbers, but because cases involving young killers are exceptionally important in understanding the phenomenon of serial killing.

Henrietta Weibel, 13 and 7 months, was accused of attempting to burn to death two babies (first the Kelly (Kinney) baby in Tarrytown, later the Franck baby at West Farms, Bronx) on two separate occasions.


CHRONOLOGY  (based on best source, NY Herald):

Henrietta Weibel, 13 and 7 months old; arrested at 418 E. 17th St., West Farms, Bronx; employed by Mrs. Stein, tenant at Leopold Appell Hotel. 4 Siblings. Father deceased.

Spring, 1874 – attempted to burn a baby belonging to Mr. Kinney, of Tarrytown,
Jun. 1874 – employed by Louis Stern’s family, until Jul. 2;multiple thefts, broke windows.
Jul. 2, 1874 – threatened 3-y-o Stern boy to cut off his foot, poisoned him twice.
Jul. 4, 1874 – Mrs. Dometion; set fire to dress of Mrs. Dometion’s little girl (2), blamed girl’s brother, Rob.
Jul 29, 1874 – Set two fires at Mrs. Stein’s, risking life of Mrs. Stein’s cousin’s baby.
Jul. 30, 1874 – Baby Frank, attempted to burn. Leopold Appell Hotel.
Jul. 31, 1874 – arrested; Thirty-fourth Police precinct, at Tremont
Aug. 11, 1874 – Court of General Sessions, The People vs. Henrietta Weibel, arson.


FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 4): Henrietta Weibel, aged 15, was arrested, on a charge of attempted murder and incendiarism, she having on Wednesday night, attempted to burn the infant child of Mrs. Franck, a boarder at the Leopold Palace Hotel, and afterwards made two endeavours to set fire to the house. The baby was lying asleep when the girl set fire to the bed clothes. Another servant extinguished the flames, but the little child was nearly suffocated. The girl confessed her guilt, and said she had a mania for burning children and houses. It is said that last spring she attempted to burn the baby of Mr. Kelly, of Tremont, and that she was formerly employed by Uhling, the brick-laden coffin conspirator.

[“A Young Murderess,” The Singleton Argus and Upper Hunter General Advocate (NSW, Australia), Sep. 30, 1874, p. 3]


FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 4): Henrietta Weibel, who set the bed on fire in a West Farms [in the Bronx, New York] hotel with the view of destroying Mrs. Frank’s infant, was examined on Saturday by Police Surgeon Loomis. She told him that she had no motive for her crime. She loved the child dearly. But seeing it sleeping, she thought it would be nice to see it burn, and instantly fired the bed. But then ran out of the room. As she closed her door, smoke entered the little sleeper’s lungs, and it gasped for death. Henrietta relented, and was about to snatch the child from its danger, but something, she said, seemed to drive her from the spot, and half bewildered she ran down stairs singing. She said she would not hurt the little darling for the world, but that she could not control her action. Dr. Loomis believes that Henrietta is insane. Justice Wheeler has ordered a medical examination.

[“Henrietta Weibel, The Child Burner.” (reprinted from, New York Sun, Aug. 3), The Evening Star (Washington, D. C.), Aug. 4, 1874, p. 1]


FULL TEXT (Article 3 of 4): The disciples of the theories of total depravity of morbid impulse in explaining dark but purposeless crime may either of them claim evidence in support of their pet theory in the circumstances leading to the arrest of a young girl at No. 418 East Seventeenth street yesterday morning. The officer who executed the summons was from the Thirty-fourth precinct, and the charge was defined to be attempted murder, and incendiarism. Henrietta Weibel had been a domestic at Leopold Appell’s Hotel, West Farms, for a few days. She had not been cheerfully industrious, but until Wednesday last she had manifested no fiendish proclivities.

On that day, however, she stealthily proceeded to a room on the second floor, where the baby of Mrs. Frank – a boarder – was asleep in its cot, and shortly afterwards the alarm of fire was raised, and the hurried rush up stairs by the alarmed mother revealed the fact that the infant was enveloped in flames. Happily it was rescued uninjured, but half suffocated with smoke, from which, after medical assistance, it was slow to recover.

A few hours afterward smoke was discovered issuing from the dining room closet, where the table linen was kept. And still again on the same day some wearing apparel in a hall closet was discovered ablaze. It did no at once occur to the proprietor that the girl was the incendiary: but on his suspicions being aroused he sharply questioned her, and she at one and unhesitatingly confessed to the crime. She said she couldn’t help doing it; that whenever she saw a baby asleep she wanted to burn it. It having been ascertained that she had six months since attempted to burn a baby belonging to Mr. Kinney, of Tarrytown, Mr. Appell had the girl arrested.

Yesterday evening a reporter proceeded to No. 418 East Seventeenth street, with a view of investigating, if possible, the moral influence of the girl’s home. After some difficulty the wretched dwelling was discovered on the second floor of a rear and rank-smelling tenement house. The stairs that led up to it were foul; the room was comfortless, and seated on a rickety chair was Mrs. Weibel herself – an overflowing woman as to shoulders and waist, with large dark eyes and a sensuous lower jaw. The reporter stated his errand, whereupon the lady, who was stitching an article of fine cambric, became partially dissolved in tears, and spasmodically rehearsed her daughter’s antecedents, as follows:

“She was always a bad girl, was Henrietta – a very bad girl. I have five children. I was left a widow two years since. Henrietta is thirteen years and seven months old, and not fifteen, as the police report states. I was about to become a mother when my husband died. I could not look after Henrietta properly, and she began to go out at night among loose girls and stay till eleven and twelve o’clock. When I was sewing for a baker near she was so cunning as to get all my earning before the work was done, and when I took it I had no money to get. Oh!” cried Mrs. Weibel, “she is a terrible bad girl, and if she has been guilty of trying to burn a baby I hope they will punish her all they can.”

The mother furthermore stated that she had placed Henrietta in a juvenile reformatory twelve months since, but that she ran away and subsequently “hired herself out out” in Westchester county.


The little girl, against whom rests such a terrible accusation, is at present continued in the lockup of the Thirty-fourth Police precinct, at Tremont. A Herald representative called there yesterday afternoon, and on intimating a desire to see the juvenile prisoner was at once conducted down stairs by the Sergeant in charge. The would-be baby cremationist was found in a large, well-lighted cell, and as she lay coiled up, as it were, on the board used for a bunk, with a folded blanket answering the purpose of a pillow, her childish face and almost infantile form were sufficient to challenge the credulity of the visitor as to the identity of the youthful poisoner. Her facial; expression is by no means unprepossessing, and as her large, lustrous hazel eyes looked responsive to a kind inquiry of the Sergeant, her young face seemed to light up with a confiding smile, which it would be difficult for one morally depraved to counterfeit. The girl, who as very neat and tidy in appearance, does not seem to be more than twelve years old, although, according to her own statement, she is between fourteen and fifteen.

“Henrietta,” queried the writer, “is it true that you tried to burn a baby at West Farms?”

“Yes, sir,” was the prompt and apparently ingenious reply.

“What could have prompted you to attempt such a wicked deed?”

“I don’t know, sir; something told me to do it.”

“Would you not have been sorry had you succeeded in killing the child?”

“No, sir, I don’t know that I would.”

“Then you don’t seem to like babies?”

“No, sir.”


“Was that the first time you ever tried to burn a child?”

“No, sir. When I was living with Mrs. Kinney, at Tarrytown, I had a mind to set fire to the baby, but I didn’t do it.”

“How long did you live with Mrs. Kinney?”

“I was there a month and two weeks.”

“Did Mrs. Kinney discharge you then?”

“No, sir; it was the first place I ever was in, and the work was too hard for me; it was chamber work I had to do?”

“Are your parents living, Henrietta?”

“My father is dead, sir, but my mother is living in Seventeenth street, New York; my father was a tailor; and mother is a dressmaker.”

“What did you use in setting fire to the bed where the baby was lying as West Farms?”

“Nothing but matches, sir.”

“Do you know that you are charged with a terrible crime, and have you thought of what is going to become of you?”

At this question Henrietta appeared not to comprehend its meaning, but after a few seconds she seemed to take in its full import, and quickly raising herself from the recumbent position which she had maintained until now, she bust into a flood of tears, sobbing out: “I feel so sorry; I am such a wicked girl. I’ll never do it again. Oh! My poor mother cried so when I left her last. She has always had a good name, and now it breaks my heart to think that I have brought her into disgrace. I did not think of heaven or of death, or else I wouldn’t have done it.”

“You haven’t always been a bad girl, have you?”

“No, sir: I always went to school and to Sunday school.”

“What Sabbath school did you attend?”

“On the corner of Twenty-second street and Fourth avenue, at Dr. Crosby’s church.”

After offering a few words of consolation to the childish heart which was convulsively apostrophizing a mother’s sympathy and love, the writer took his departure, saddened by the excessive sobs of the youthful prisoner.

[“A Fiendish Girl. – A Child of Thirteen with a Mania for Baby Burning – The Mother’s Testimony – An Interview With the Youthful Prisoner.” New York Herald (N.Y.), Aug. 1, 1874, p. 3]

Note: The original typographic presentation has been preserved. This article gives Henrietta's age as thirteen rather than fifteen. Only further research will help determine which might be correct.

FULL TEXT (Article 4 of 4): So many startling phases of crime crop out from time to time that it seems almost impossible to keep pace with them in any attempt at analysis. One of the most recent of the strange cases was that of Henrietta Weibel, the baby burner. The idea of a little girl, thirteen years of age, cherishing a passion for the burning up of babies is something awful to dwell upon. But insanity steals into the brain of little girls as well as into the brain of grown people, and there can scarcely be a doubt but that Henrietta Weibel is insane.

A HERALD reporter called yesterday the store of Louis Stern, No. 294 First avenue, to ascertain some facts about the girl. Henrietta had been for the month previous to the 2nd of July a domestic in Louis Stern’s family, and while she was there most signally distinguished herself. On two different occasions she made free with the money drawer, spending the fifty cents she appropriated in procuring a supply of candy, which she lavishly distributed among her female acquaintances. On another occasion she actually contrived to secure to herself, out of Mrs. Stern’s pocket, while that lady was attending to household affairs, two ten cent stamps. Later in the day, while with a friend in the little park opposite Dr. Tyng’s church, she pulled from her pocket a stick of candy with a twenty-five stamp attached, and throwing it on the ground, exclaimed, “Ain’t I lucky? Here’s not only lots of candy, but a quarter dollar.” These little raids upon the money drawer cased Mrs. Stern to send for


who, on arriving, sadly upbraided her erring daughter, telling her that she had promised to stop doing those bad things. Henrietta got mad with Mrs. Stern for sending for her mother and was resolved to have revenge. On the 2d of July, while Mrs. Stern was bathing her baby, she was startled by hearing the breaking of a pane of glass in the rear room. Henrietta looked as innocent as a child and wondered what the young ruffians outside were trying to do. Mrs. Stern again applied herself to the baby, but suddenly another pane went into the fritters with a loud crash, and immediately after three different panes were knocked into pieces. Mrs. Stern now went to the rear of the house and closed the shutters, and Mr. Stern journeyed up to an adjoining roof to see where were concealed the rascally boys that were breaking his window. The shutters being closed, Mrs. Stern occupied herself once more with the baby, but was very shocked with a series of bangs against the window panes, which terribly alarmed her. She then went into the street, and, being joined by a detective and two officers, the rooms were examined, after which the officers went out to the yard to reconnoitre. No sooner had they got outside than again the glass in the window went


Attracting the attention of the neighbors in the adjoining houses, and thus gathering a crowd in the street. No one was now in the back room but Henrietta, and it was not long before a tad of sweetmeats that was on the mantelpiece went spinning on the floor and the glass or a picture hanging on the wall was cracked though not entirely broken. The police gave it up as a bad job, and questioned Henrietta as to her knowledge of the extraordinary occurrence; but the girl stoutly denied all knowledge how the thing was done, saying that she suspected it mast have been them bad boys or a ghost. She was dismissed from Mr. Stern’s house that evening, however, and she admitted to a friend of hers in Seventeenth street that she had had a jolly lark at Stern’s; she said she had a lot of bits of brick concealed up her sleeves, with which she scared the wits out of the whole of them. Mrs. Stern says that on one occasion Henrietta told her that a quilt been stolen from a clothes line in the yard but that next day a neighbor found it in the cellar of the house. The quilt was not yet quite dry and Mrs. Stern pat it out on the line again. About half an hour after Henrietta again told Mrs. Stern that the quilt had a second time mysteriously disappeared and that it was the strangest thing she had ever known. Mr. Stern descended to the cellar, and after a short exploration by the aid of a few matches that discovered the quilt in a corner and took it away with him. Henrietta looked as unconcerned as she had herself put it there. The Sterns have, beside the baby,


who was always in the habit or steeping with the girl in charge or the children. The little fellow after the first night be slept with Henrietta most positively objected to sleeping in the bed with her again and began to complain constantly of a pain in his foot. The parents treated this lightly, made him sleep with the girl for some time afterwards, but his father had frequently to carry him in the middle of the night, the crying with the pain in his foot. It seems that Henrietta had frightened the little fellow by threatening that she should surely cut his foot off. The day Henrietta was discharged Mrs. Stern’s baby got quite sick and the doctor had to be consulted to relieve it, and the following day the little boy got sick and had also to receive medical assistance. Mr. and Mrs. Stern rejoice to think that they got rid of this insane little girl, even at the expense of fifteen panes of glass, the loss of a jar of sweetmeats and the breaking of the glass in a picture frame.

But Henrietta took an this very quietly, and went home to her mother’s without shedding a single tear. In the rooms adjoining her mother’s, at No. 418 East Seventeenth street, dwell Mr. and Mrs. Dometion and their five little children. Mrs. Dometion is the housekeeper for the tenement house, and has been very much offended that the HERALD should have stated, a few days since, that the tenement house is not quite what it ought to be. The place is cleanly enough; but there it as doubt but that the air which one has to breathe in ascending the stairs to the top floor is not that of a pretty garden, where the perfume of the flowers gladdens the sense of smell. Anyhow, Mrs. Dometion had her quota to add to the story of


Henrietta stayed round about the house all day on the Fourth of July, looking out of the window at the boys throwing the firecrackers, and amusing herself by pinching the children, perhaps, to make them cry. Mrs. Stern swears Henrietta used to pinch the boy. In the afternoon Henrietta took Mrs. Dometion’s little girl, about two years old, and her own little sister, into her mother’s room, and having got them in she deliberately lit a few matches and set fire to the dress of Mrs. Dometion’s little girl. Henrietta’s little sister began screaming, and Henrietta herself went to the head of the stairs and began calling for Rob, her own little brother, who at the time was playing in the yard. Mrs. Dometion hearing the children’s screams at once rushed into the Weibel’s rooms and began screaming, too, when she saw her.


With a mother’s bravery the folded the child in her own dress and rolled her on the floor until the flames were extinguished and saved the child. She showed the reporter the charred dress yesterday, and among other thanksgivings which she uttered she was glad she had sweet oil in the house to ease the pains of the burnt child. But Henrietta looked on, Mrs. Dometion says, with annulled visage, and when asked about the matter quietly said that “it was Rob who did it.” Henrietta’s little sister, however, who was an eyewitness of the lighting of the matches and that setting fire to the dress, told the whole truth. The whole truth did not disconcert Miss Henrietta in the very slightest degree. Yesterday Mrs. Weibel went to Tremont Jail to see Henrietta, start clinging to the unfortunate maniac. There as another daughter younger than Henrietta, about whom all concur in saying that she has already shown


This series of acts of Henrietta, with the circumstances attending them, point conclusively to the deduction that she is insane. No human being at her age could possibly be so callous to the enormity of the crimes she was perpetrating or trying to perpetrate and be in her right senses. But never, on any occasion, as all those who know testify, showed the slightest feeling after the discovery of her strange doings. Mrs. Sterns says that as a servant she was willing and ready very and cleanly. The story of her doings when left her home, after the occurrences above narrated, has been already published.

[“The Baby Burner. – The Heartless Domestic, Henrietta Weibel. – A Strange Story of Precocious Iniquity. – An Attempt to Burn Her Next Door Neighbor’s Child.” New York Herald (N.Y.), Aug. 5, 1874, p. 4]





More cases: Serial Killer Girls


More cases: Youthful Borgias: Girls Who Commit Murder


Katharina Riefer, 12-year-old Sadistic German Murderess - Saarbrucken, 1930

Note: Cases such as this one, in which a child is the perpetrator of but one actual murder, yet shows an inclination to commit further murders, are included in our inventory, not to inflate the numbers, but because cases involving young killers are exceptionally important in understanding the phenomenon of serial killing.

Kathleen Riefer, 12, murdered one child and injured (in apparent attempt to murder) four others.


FULL TEXT: Berlin, April 7. – There is an extraordinary parallel of the Dusseldorf outrages at Saarbrucken (Rhenish Prussia), but in this instance the perpetrator is a 12-year-old girl, Kathleen Riefer, who has confessed to the killing of a four-year-old infant, and to inflicting savage injuries on four others.

The body of the murdered child was found in March, carefully and skilfully hidden in a hollow near a disused cemetery. In the next few days a four-year-old girl was found distracted in waste ground with throttling marks on her neck. Then in quick succession three others were found similarly treated.

Riefer has maintained stubborn silence to the police questions, and has refused to give the motive. Her parents are excellent citizens.

[“Youthful Murderess. - Infant Strangled.” Kalgoorie Miner (W.A., Australia), Apr. 12, 1930, p. 5]



FULL TEXT: The twelve-year-old Katharina Riefer, who was arrested in Saarbrücken under Morderdacht, has, according to the "Vossichen Zeitung". After a long, stubborn denial, they found that she had killed the three-and-a-half-year-old Annemarie Scholtes, whose body was found on 31 March in a sand pit in the old cemetery in Saarbrücken. She also admitted that she mistreated a large number of other children.


FULL TEXT (translated from German): For about a week, the city of Saarbrücken was under the spell of terrible events.

Five days ago, in the vicinity of an old, unused cemetery, the horrible corpse of a lovely three-and-a-half-year-old girl had been found. The little corpse lay in the garbage. The murderer had covered it with garbage bags. Rodents had already gnawed the dead child.

The medical examination revealed that the child had been beaten bloody with some hard object; the monster of a murderer had torn his hair in part from her. The small body showed countless killing wounds; the eyes were almost pressed out of the sockets and,  strangely, the child had been strangled.

There was no trace of the horrible murderer. The horror grew when, four days apart, four other children, all of them working-class families, terribly wounded, were found in the same area.

Even with these children, boys and girls, three and five years old, an attempt had been made to force their eyes out of their sockets; they showed strangulation marks on the neck and blemishes on the face and the whole body.

The entire police apparatus of Saarbrücken was mobilized in order to get hold of the fiend. The population participated in the effort, but initially remain unsuccessful.

The surviving children spoke of a "woman" who had inflicted horrible injuries on them.

After a vicious job, the circle of suspects grew tighter and tighter until a single person remained, concentrating all the suspicions: a 12-year-old girl named Katharina Riefer, who was highly developed beyond her years.

The abused children were presented with the suspect and tremblingly referred to her as the "woman" who lured them near the cemetery.

~ Eerie confessions. ~

The interrogating commissioner: where did you find the child?

The twelve-year-old: At Café Moltke, she played there with a ball.

The commissioner: ​​And what did you do?

The twelve-year-old: I went to the little one and said: Come with me! Here we are, along the Moltkestrasse, to the old cemetery. The little girl started crying and told me to bring her back to her mother.

​​The commissioner: ​​And what did you do?

The twelve-year-old: I said we stay here.

And because the little girl always cried, I tore her hair. She fell over and as she was from the trash heap, I grabbed her once from the neck and the child has been looking at me with big eyes and thrashed about.

Then I pushed my fingers into her eyes, so that it should not get me so upset; and suddenly the child stretched out under me and became very quiet. As it did not move anymore, I got scared, covered it with some old sacks and ran away.

The commissioner: ​​Did you know that the child is dead?

The twelve-year-old: I saw it!

The commissioner: ​​Why did you do it?

The twelve-year-old: I had to do it!

With the same equanimity, Katharina Riefer admitted the abuse of the other little children, even in these cases she only knows that she had to do it.

The criminologists and the doctors are faced with a problem. The population is excited about the terrible event of in the highest degree. There was no doubt that it was a crime from the the girl’s sick delight. Criminal law cannot contend with Katharina Riefer. The case is one of the most bizarre to have occurred since time immemorial.

[“A twelve-year-old child murderer. Eerie perversion of a child's soul. - A child is terrifying a city.” (Eine zwölfjährige Kindesmörderin. Unheimliche Verrung einer Kinderseele. – Ein Kind setzt eine Stadt in Schrecken.) Illustierte Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), Apr. 7, 1930, p. 9]



FULL TEXT: Die zwölfjährige Katharina Riefer, die in Saarbrücken unter Morderdacht verhaftet worden ist, hat, nach der “Vossichen Zeitung” nach langem hartnäckigen Leugnen destanden, dass sie die dreieinhalbjährige Annemarie Scholtes, deren Leiche am 31. März in einer Sandgrube im alten Friedhof in Saarbrücken gefunden wurde, getötet hat. Sie hat auch zugegeben, dass sie eine grosse Zahl von Kindern aufs schwerste mishandelt hat.

[Eine zwölfjährige Mörderin, Tagblatt (Linz, Austria), Apr. 11, 1930, p. 4]


FULL TEXT: Seit ungefähr einer Woche stand die Stadt Saarbrücken im Banne furchtbarer Geschehnisse.

Vor fünf Tage hatte man in der Nähe eines alten, nicht mehr belegten Friedhofes die grauenhast zugerichte Leiche eines reizenden dreieinhalbjährigen Mädchens gefunden. Die kleine Leiche lag aus einem Müllhausen, der Mörder hatte es mit Abfallappen oberslächlich zugedeckt. Nagetiere hatten das tote Kind bereits angenagt.

Die ärztliche Unterfuchung ergab, dass das Kind mit irgend einem harten Gegenstand blutig geschlagen worden war; die Haare hatte ihm das Scheusal von einem Mörder zum Teil ausgerissen, der kleine Körper zeigte zahllose Krasswunden, die Augen waren ihm fast aus den Höhlen gepresst und schleisslich war das Kind erwürgt worden.

Von dem grauenhasten Mörder sehlte jede Spur. Das Entsetzen wuchs, als an vier auseinanderfolgenden Tage vier andere Kinder, durchwegs aus Arbeiterfamilien, furchtbar zugerichtet, in derselben Gegend ausgefunden.

Auch bei diesen Kindern, Knaben und Mädchen zeichen drei und fünf Jahren, war der Versuch gemacht worden, ihnen die Augen aus den Höhlen zu drücken; sie zeigten Würgespuren am Halse und Krasswunden im Gesicht und am ganzen Körper.

Der gesamte Polizeiapparat von Saarbrücken wurde aufgeboten, um des Unholdes habhast zu werden. Die Bevölkerung beteiligte sich an den Streisungen, die aber zunächst erfolglos bleiben.

Die am Leben gebliebenen Kinder sprachen von einer “Frau”, die ihnen die grauenhaften Verletzungen augefügt habe.

Nach sieberhafter Arbeit zog zich der Kreis der Verdächtigen immer enger, bis eine einzige Person übrig blieb, die alle Verdachtsmomente aus such konzentrierte: ein über seine Jahre hinaus stark entwickeltes zwölfjähriges Mädchen namens Katharina Riefer.

Die misshandelten Kinder wurden der Verdächtigen gegenübergestellt und bezeichneten sie zitternd als die “Frau”, die sie in die Nähe des Friedhofes gelockt habe.

~ Ein einzig dastehender Kriminallfall. ~

Katharina Riefer wurde nun ins Verhör genommen. Das Mädchen hat seinen Vater und die Mutter kann sich wenig um sie Kümmern, da sie stats in fremden Häusern aus Arbeit weilt.

Unter ungeheurem Aussehen, unter Flüchen und Verwünchungen der Vevölkerung wurde Kataharina Riefer der Polizei überstellt. Aerzte, Pfychiater wurden dem Verhör beigezogen. Dieses Verhör beigezogen. Dieses Verhör gestaltete sich nach Aussage aller Teilnehmer zu dem unheimlichten Erlebnis, dass den Saarbrücker Kriminalisten je begegnete.

Mit volkommener Ruhe, gleichurütig und unbewegt gestand die Beschuldigte schon auf die erste Frage ein, dass sie die Kinder an sich gelockt habe.

~ Unheimliche Geständnisse. ~

Der verhörende Kommissär: Wo hast du das Kind getrossen?

Die Zwölfjährige: Beim Café Moltke, sie hat dort mit einmem Ball gespielt.

Der Kommissär: Und was hast du gemacht?

Die Zwölsjährige: Ich bin zu der Kleinen gegangen und habe gesagt: Komm mit mir! Da sind wir hinaus, die Moltkestrasse entlang, zum alten Friedhof. Die Kleine hat zu weinen begonnen und hat gesagt, ich soll sie wieder zur Mutter führen.

Der Kommissär: Und was hast du getan?

Die Zwölfjährige: Ich habe gesagt, wir bleiben hier.

Und weil die Kleine immer geweint hat, habe ich sie bei den Haaren gerissen. Dabei ist sie umgefallen und wie sie aus dem Müllhaufen gelegen ist, da habe ich sie aus einmal beim Halse gepackt und das Kind hat mich mit grossen Augen angeschant und hat gestrampelt.

Da bin ich ihm mit meinen Fingern in die Augen gefahren, dass es mich nicht so aufchanen soll; und aus einmal hat sich das Kind unter mir gestreckt und ist ganz still geworden. Wie es sich nicht mehr gerührt hat, habe ich Angst bekommen, habe es mit paar alten Sücken zugedeckt und bin weggelaufen.

Der Kommissär: Hast zu gewusst, dass das Kind tot ist?

Die Zwölfjährige: Ich habe es ja gesehen!

Der Kommissär: Warum hast du es getan?

Die Zwölfjährige: I habe es tun müssen!

Mit demselben Gleichmut gab Katharina Riefer die Misshandlung der anderen kleinen Kinder zu, auch diesen Fällen weiss sie nur zu sagen, dass sie es tun musste.

Die Kriminalisten und die Aerzte stehen vor einem Nätsel. Die Bevölkerung ist über das furchtbare Ereignis aus das höchste erregt. Es dürste sich zweisellos um ein Verbrechen aus krankhaster Verlanglagung des Mädchens handeln. Strafrechtlich wird Katarina Riefer nicht zur Verantwortung gezogen werden können. Der Fall zählt zu den ungehenerlichsten, die sich seit Menschengedenken ereignet haben.

[Eine zwölfjährige Kindesmörderin. Unheimliche Verrung einer Kinderseele. – Ein Kind setzt eine Stadt in Schrecken. Illustierte Kronen Zeitung (Vienna, Austria), Apr. 7, 1930, p. 9]




More cases: Serial Killer Girls


More cases: Youthful Borgias: Girls Who Commit Murder


Monday, February 10, 2014

Step-Mothers from Hell

The orthodox myth about female violence is that it is: a) a response to male violence, or, b) a result of what social constructionists call “social stressors.” The myth is false. This selection of cases provides examples of female violence directed, in most cases, towards female children. (For a discussion of the feminist “belief in the inherent-non-violence of women” see: The central myth of MISANDRY: “the inherent non-violence of women”


1860 – Elizabeth McCraney – Medford, Otsego, N. Y. (Serial Killer)
"Mrs. Elizabeth P. McCraney, the third wife of Mr. Mc. (who was also her second husband,) is accused of poisoning her husband's daughter, Huklah, a beautiful girl of 17, and now that this murder is out the people believe they shall trace no less than seven mysterious deaths to her agency, including her former husband."

1873 – Mrs. Deaten – Manchester, Kentucky
“murdered her step-daughter, aged 10, in a horrible manner”

1872 – Wilhelmin Woltmann – Stade, Germany (Serial Killer)
This serial killer of seven persons was executed by beheading. She murdered the parents of the man she loved because they objected to their union. Four other adults she murdered before she married a widower, murdered his children and was finally brought to justice.

1884 – Maria Bruce – Raffahannock, Virginia
“After slapping the girl, this act seemed to work up her fury to a still greater heat, and, setting the iron poker from the fire place, she beat the skull of the little girl to a jelly.”

1887 – Ellen Jones – Little Rock, Arkansas
“[S]he would beat the little child until it would be convulsed with spasms and then strip its clothes off, tie its hands behind it and leave it a prey to the flies for hours.”

1898 – Mrs. Edward Smith – Bergen/Passaic, New Jersey
Inez Smith, 15: “My sister and I have laid awake all night crying over the whippings she has given us. She began to whip us as soon as she came to the house. She has often grabbed my hair and thrown me to the floor, and when I was lying flat upon my back she beat me with a rope and stick until my back and legs and arms were black and blue. Then she pounded me with her arm until I was so sore I could not move.
I saw her grab Alice and put her hands in boiling water. Alice cried, but my step-mother kept her hands in the water. Alice fell to the floor, and the skin pealed off her hands when my step-mother let go of her. Another time I saw my step-mother put Alice’s hands on the table and hold them there. Then she took a hammer in one hand and pounded Alice’s  fingers until Alice cried and fainted away.
My sister Katie is six years old and a cripple, and could not walk when my step-mother came to our house. Once she grabbed Katie and swung her around the room with one hand and beat her with the other hand. She struck Katie over the arm awfully and my father said that she broke Katie’s arm.”

1898 – Martha Place – New York, N.Y.
Murdered her step-daughter, throwing acid in her face and then smothering her. After this she stabbed husband. A famous case. Executed in 1899.

1898 – “Obecse Step-Mother” – Obecse, Hungary [present Serbia]
The stepmother hanged her step-daughter, a little girl of four years of age, on a tree in the garden. She then ordered her stepson, aged ten, to say he had murdered his little sister. The boy refused, whereupon the inhuman stepmother seized him and placed him in a large oven, where she baked her bread. The boy was roasted to death over a slow fire. She then suffocated a third stepchild, aged nine, with a pillow, and strangled the fourth, aged seven, with her own hands.

1900 – Annie Grabant – Chicago, Illinois

One of the atrocious crimes in the police annals of the city have just come to light. Mrs. Annie Grabant confessed that she murdered her two stepdaughters, who were burned to death in the home, No. 136 Homan avenue, Wed night. Mrs. Grabant is at a hospital being treated for her injuries which are severe, Frederick Grabant, the husband of the woman, was a widower when he married her six years ago. He had two daughters from the first the second Mrs. Grabant was jealous of the girls and the neighbors say, abused them. She not only beat them, but would, it is said, sear their bodies with hot irons; make them take nauseous concoctions and whip them till they fainted if they made an outcry, thrust them out of doors with little clothing on in the winter time and subject them to the tortures of hunger by making them sit by unfed while her own four children ate their meals.

1901 – Mrs. Stallion – Aurora, Missouri
Mrs. John Stallion and two sons by a former marriage murdered Alice Stallion, her step daughter, aged sixteen. The boys held Alice while her mother broke her skull with a poker. The body was then thrown in the James river.

1903 – “Prenzlau Step-Mother” – Prenzlau, Germany
The woman tortured her five-year-old daughter to death in a series of unbelievably cruel acts.

1904 – Rae Krauss – Hartford City, Indiana
Rae Krauss murdered her stepdaughter Crystal, and forged a suicide note.

1906 – Stella Brennan – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Murdered three step-children by shooting them, blaming a fictitious burglar, one child survived and testified against her. A baby was born to her in prison.

1906 – Jennie Anderson – Youngstown, Ohio
The stepmother broke bottles on head of children. She killed one by beating the girl with a nail-studded club.

1909 – Ruth Rendell – Perth, Australia
Murdered four step-children by poisoning. Executed.

1913 – Ellen Etheridge – Waco, Texas (Serial Killer)
“Slew Four Step-Children. – Woman Says Jealousy of Her Husband’s Affection Prompted Her to Act.”

1913 – Hennie Yates – Troy, Tennessee
Mrs. Hennie Yates, thirty-six, and daughter, Floy Farris, fifteen, charged with the murder of Ligon Yates, twelve, and Ida May Yates, ten. They were the step-children of Hennie and the half-siblings of Floy. Children drowned in creek near home at Troy, Tenn.  Mrs. Yates will give no other reason for committing the crime than: “They made my life miserable.” The woman is apparently rational, realizes the enormity of her crime, but does not in any way show that she is remorseful. . The little girl cowered in a separate cell as far away from her mother as she could get. She declares she is afraid of her mother and assisted in the murder only after she had been threatened with death by her parent if she refused.

1915 – Evelina Steele – Muskegon, Wisconsin
Mrs. Albert Steele, of Muskegon, Wisconsin, murdered her 11-year-old step-daughter out of jealousy for her husband’s love for the child. The murder took place in 1915. Other women have done such things for the same reason, but Mrs. Steele went about her business in a fashion that was unusual. She tied the girl to a chair, blindfolded her and then poured acid down her throat. Then, in an effort to simulate a botched abortion in order to give an explanation for the death as well as providing support for a false allegation of incest to be used after the “abortion” was discovered, the step-mother, mutilated the corpse and threw the naked body in an alley, partially covering it with sand. Mrs. Steele was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

1920 – Marie Anne Houde Gagnon – Quebec, Canada
“The girl, 16, after being beaten, was burned with a red hot poker and made to walk barefoot in the snow was forced to drink poison, the evidence disclosed. The post mortem Examination of the body revealed 54 wounds.”

1923 – Eliza Potegian – Fresno, Ca. (Serial Killer)
“I’ll make ashes of them.”

1924 – Annie Hauptrief – San Marcos, Texas (Serial Killer)
Poisoned four step-children, who died, and husband, who survived. Murdered previous husband.

1925 – Birdie Strome – Springfield, Ohio (in progress) (Serial Killer)
Step-daughter had predicted own death, died of strychnine poisoning. Mrs. Strome was suspected of being a serial killer (former husband and sister-in-law died of “mysteriously”). She was convicted of the girl’s murder and died in prison not long afterwards.

1925 – Marie Maharies – Waterloo, Iowa (in progress)
“‘Yes I killed him [her 6-year-old stepson]. I didn’t love him and I hated his father.’ … ‘No, he wasn’t mean, but he was always in the way.’ That is the excuse she gives, and to her it seems sufficient.”

1928 – Caroline Evanovich – Stark County, Ohio
“The officers declare that the girl did not die from drowning as a result of being pushed into the water but say that the child was struck over the head with some kind of a blunt instrument that caused hemorrhages of the brain and her death.”

1928 – Mrs. Reddick – Fresno, California
After the death of her husband, Mrs. Reddick deposited her daughter in an asylum and her son in a reform school in order to prevent the children from ever reuniting with her natural mother.

1930 – Pearl O’Loughlin – Denver, Colorado
Mrs. O’Loughlin was found guilty last night of slaying her stepdaughter, Leona, 10, whose battered body was found in Berkeley Park Lake, Oct. 17. The child had been fed broken glass, struck on the head with a tire iron and her body hurled into the lake, the state charged.

1935 – Florence Stoddard – Keene, New Hampshire
“Mrs. Florence Stoddard, aged 20 years, was sentenced to imprisonment for twenty-two months in the house of correction upon an admission that she had used a hot poker [an iron stove-lifter, actually] to brand the bodies of her two small stepchildren. The husband originally lodged the complaint and when the police made an investigation they found thirty-six scars on the body of the 10-year-old stepdaughter and twenty-six scars on the person of the 6-year-old stepson.”

1935 – Mildred Schueler – Bridgeport, Connecticut
“They have listened to the story of little Marilyn being tied hand and foot, beaten and crushed to death by the stepmother.” Sentenced to life in prison.

1937 – Agnes Joan Ledford – St. Helens, Oregon
Murdered a husband & 2 teenage step-daughters. She was convicted of the 2 child-murders.

1939 – Anna Louise Sullivan – Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Serial Killer)
She murdered her second husband; attempted to murder her third husband and his two sons and daughter, leaving one son dead, the husband crippled and the daughter very ill.

1953 – Jewell Louise Kelley – Texas City, Texas
According to the attending physician, the condition of the beaten child was worse than prisoners of war from Japanese camps.
1956 – Rhonda Belle Martin –Montgomery, Alabama (Serial Killer)
Mrs. Martin, a waitress from Montgomery, Alabama, admitted slaying her mother, three small daughters and two of her five husbands with poison. She also fed ant poison once was her stepson. He is still alive though paralyzed.

1978 – Catherine L. Sherriod – Norfolk, Virginia


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Inessa Tarverdiyeva, Russian Serial Killer Family Matriarch – 2013

On September 17, 2013, Russian law enforcement officers were involved in a shootout in Stavropol with a middle-class family, killing the only man present, Roman Podkopaev (35), a dentist. His wife Inessa Tarverdiyeva (46), a former nursery school teacher, her 25 year-old daughter Viktoria Tarverdiyeva (25). The couple’s 11-year-old daughter, Anastasia, according to police, “actively took part in all crimes.” Later Podkopaev’s sister, Anastasia Sinelnik, was also arrested.

Over a period of six years, the family of serial killers murdered at least 30 people. Victims included a “boy, 7, was shot in the head while his sister was stabbed 37 times. Two teenage girls had their eyes gouged out in horrific torture routine,” reported by the east2west news Following her arrest, investigators videotaped an interview with the clan’s matriarch Inessa, in which they allowed her to handle unloaded rifles to demonstrate re-enact some of her murders.

It is thought that most, if not all, of the murders were associated with theft of property.


Inessa Tarverdiyeva (Russian: Инесса Тарвердиева), The Amazon Gang (Russian: Банда «амазонок»)

Suspected Criminal activity (Russian Wikipedia)
Feb. 17, 2008 – 2 victims, dead – In Aksai gunmen assassinated Zlydneva Michael, the chief of information security department of the Federal Drug Control, and his wife. They were shot in their own home, and then finished off with knives. The killers stole coats, a jacket and a TV tuner.
Jul. 17, 2008 – 2 victims; 1 dead, 1 injured – In Aksai region on the federal highway members of the gang shot the car in which rode Rostov Alexey Sazonov and Yulia Vasilyeva. Sazonov died, and Vasilyev was badly injured. The killers stole a purse with a driver’s license, passport and a lady’s handbag. Later, the girl who was left disabled, said she heard a woman’s scream: “to strive for it!”
Mar. 10, 2009 – 2 victims, dead – on the outskirts of Novocherkassk bandits broke into the house and killed two people there. They shot them with a “Saiga” carbine and then finished the off with a knife. The killers took from the vicyims’ the passports, laptop, camera, camcorder, women’s boots, coats and men’s jackets.
Jul. 8, 2009 – 3 victims; dead – On the sidelines of the federal highway “Don” in Aksai district of members of the gang committed a massacre - Lieutenant SWAT Nizhny Novgorod Dmitry Chudakov, his wife and two young children. The bandits stole killed camera, laptop, hairdryer and money worth a total of 43.5 thousand rubles, while somehow leaving gold jewelry behind. It was the most lucrative crime committed by the gang. Within two months, investigators announced the disclosure of the crime. As it has been wrongly accused of a resident of the Aksai Serenko Alex, who spent two years in jail. The only evidence against him were the results of ballistics. The Ministry of Justice expert believed the weapon used to kill  Serenko and Chudakov was a rifle that was also used to kill least three other crime victims in the area. In fact, conclusions of the examination were wrong. According to media reports Chudakov were killed by a members of the Tsapkov gang, yet the patrons themselves were members of that gang. Already well-known throughout the country, having already been identified as the killers Serenko, then came to be called the “Amazon Gang” (Russian: Банда «амазонок).
Sep. 19, 2012 – 2 victims; both dead – In Novocherkassk gunmen killed two private security employees as they answered an alarm signal at a dental clinic. The killers used police service weapons – a submachine gun and two pistols.
Nov. 29, 2012 – 1 victim, dead – In Novocherkassk bandits entered the house of a resident of Novocherkassk Vadim stretcher for robbery. The man began to chase the robbers, but was killed. He was shot from a gun stolen from a private security workers
Mar. 16, 2013 – 1 victim, dead – in Aksai members of the gang killed traffic inspector Nikolai Kutsekon who came out of the apartment to the street when he heard his car alarm sounding. He saw suspicious people near the car, tried to detain them, but was mortally wounded.
Apr. 8, 2013 – 2 victims: 1 injured, 1 dead – in Novocherkassk on the outskirts of the city, next to the grocery store, the bandits shot “car chop” [?] employees, who came to check why the alarm went off. Injured driver Nikolai Korsunov could leave, and his partner, Yuri Statsenko died in hospital. The bandits shot at them with a weapon stolen from employees of private security.
Apr. 24, 2013 – 1 victim, dead – in Aksai district of bandits was killed by traffic inspector Andrew Jurin, who late in the evening decided to overtake a car. When he left the house, the gang participants shot him at point blank range. They tried to break into the house, but the door was closed, the wife and child of the police hid there. The bandits retreated, taking nothing.
Sep. 8, 2013 – 2 victims?, dead – in Aksai bandits broke into the private house, killed the hosts and stole food. After the bandits left the house they were noticed by employees of private security firm named Shakhova and Lagoda who were passing by. The security team hailed the suspicious people near “Gazel” vehicle, and those immediately opened fire on the police. Shakhova was killed and Lagoda was wounded in the arm, but managed to open fire on the bandits, killing and wounding Podkopaev Victoria Tarverdieva.


Feb. 18, 2016 – hearing at Rostov-on-Don Regional court.
Oct. 26, 2016 – “In court Inessa Tarverdieva of the "Gang of Amazons" told how she killed the children of SWAT Officer Dmitry Chudakov”
Jan. 12, 2017 – hearing at Rostov-on-Don Regional court.

One source:
[TITLE: “В суде Инесса Тарвердиева из «Банды амазонок» рассказала, как убивала детей спецназовца Дмитрия Чудакова” (“In court Inessa Tarverdieva of the "Gang of Amazons" told how she kill the children of SWAT Officer Dmitry Chudakov”). Комсомольская правда (, Oct. 26, 2016]














For similar cases, see: Female Serial Killer Bandits


For similar cases, see Murder-Coaching Moms


For more cases, see: Women Who Like to Torture


Links to more Serial Killer Couples