Monday, July 28, 2014

Female Serial Killers Who Committed Suicide


1809 – Anna Zwanziger – Bavaria, Germany (attempts)

Attempted suicide twice [Vickie Jensen, Women Criminals: An Encyclopedia of People and Issues, 2011]

1847 – Mary Ann Milner – Lincoln, England

The unfortunate woman hung herself in her cell a few hours before the appointed time.

1858 – Phebe Westlake – Goshen, New York, USA

Mrs. Phebe Westlake, formerly of Ulster county, whose maiden name was Irwin, aged about 45 years, died at Chester, in Orange county, N. Y., on the 7th inst., no doubt from the effect of poison taken for the purpose of self destruction.

1875 – Sophie Gautié Bouyou – Bourg, France (attempt)

Sophie Gauthié murdered seven of her own babies and a granddaughter, all under the age of one year. Before her arrest, she tried to commit suicide by using the same method she used on her children. She was found guilty and executed by guillotine.

1891 – Rosalie Schneider – Vienna, Austria (attempt)

The woman Schneider, who was arrested with her husband for decoying and murdering servant girls, attempted to commit suicide. Her recovery is hopeless. [Note: She did, in fact, recover, and go on trial.]

1895 – Mrs. Julian Butler – Hamburg, Michigan, USA

Mrs. Butler attempted suicide by taking laudanum, and, failing in her purpose, another poison was brought into play, which concluded the job.

1896 – Amelia Dyer – Reading, England (attempt)

In November 1891, she was admitted to Gloucester Asylum following a bungled suicide attempt.

1902 – Hattie Whitten – Dexter, Maine, USA

While in custody Hattie Whitten tied together two towels and hanged herself to a bed post.

1906 – Mary Maher – Dunkitt, County Kilkenny, Ireland – age 11 when discovered (3 murders, 1 attempted murder; suicide)

1906 – Rosa Vrzal – Chicago, Illinois, USA

“By December, 1906 police issued warrants for the arrest of Herman Billick and Rosa Vrzal. All six bodies were exhumed and autopsies determined that they had all died of arsenic poisoning.   Though they were able to arrest Billick, Rosa managed to escape them by committing suicide with arsenic before she could the police could catch up with her.”

1908 – Jeanne Weber – Paris, France

Credited with at least ten murders, she survived two years in captivity before manually strangling herself in 1910.

1911 – Louise Vermilya – Chicago, Illinois, USA (attempt)

Discovery was made Nov. 4, 1911, that Mrs. Louise Vermilya, who is under police guard at her home charged with poisoning Policeman Arthur Bissonnette, had attempted to take her own life with arsenic. A quantity of the poison was found in her bedroom in a pepper shaker.

1913 – Isabella Newman – Melbourne, Australia

Sensational developments occurred this afternoon in connection with the investigations by detectives into the mysterious disappearances of several babies adopted by the woman Isabella Newman, who committed suicide at her house in Mordialloc, after detectives had placed her under arrest.

1920 – Raya & Sekina Aly Hammam – Alexandria, Egypt – attempt by Raya

“When Raya was finally landed in a cell after a fight in which she all but succeeded in driving a dirk into her breast she was placed in solitary confinement.”

1923 – Maria Torosian – Fresno, California, USA (mother of  Potegian)

Mrs. Maria Torosian committed suicide by hanging at the Torosian ranch home west of Fresno.

1923 – Elize Potegian – Fresno, California, USA (attempt) (daughter of  Torosian)

A close guard is being maintained today [Nov. 5, 1923] over Mrs. Eliza Patigian [error, “Potegian” in most sources], charged with poisoning her step-daughter, following an attempt to commit suicide by strangulation in the county jail here yesterday afternoon. The attempt by Mrs. Patigian to end her life followed receipt of word that her mother, Mrs. Maria Torosian had committed suicide by hanging at the Torosian ranch home west of Fresno.

1924 – Annie Hauptrief – San Marco, Texas

Mrs. Hauptrief’s body was found in the morning shortly after 7 o’clock suspended from a narrow band from her cell door in the Hayes County jail, where she had been during the last five months on a charge of poisoning her four stepchildren and attempting to poison her husband.

1925 – Anna Cunningham – Crown Point, Indiana, USA (attempt)

Mrs. Cunningham, recovering in a hospital from an attempt to strangle herself, has admitted the poisoning of three children.

1929 – Julia Fazekas – Nagyrev, Hungary

A number of bodies were exhumed and arsenic was found in them. Police inquiries quickly broke down the wall of fear which had so strangely protected the guilty, and several people confessed. The evidence against Madame Fazekas piled up so quickly broke down that she was on the point of being arrested when she took her own life.

1929 – Suzi Olah – Nagyrev, Hungary

Susi [Suzi] refused to talk and was released. She made her way to her home village and visited several of her women friends. She told them to keep their mouths shut. Unknown to Susi, the police had let her go, hoping she would lead them to the other conspirators. The scheme worked. All the women were taken into custody. All except Susi. When the police called at her home, there was no answer. They found the mass murderer in a closet. She had hanged herself. Thirty-one women were placed on trial in Szolnok for the arsenic poisonings.

1929 – Christine Czordas (Chordas) – Nagyrev, Hungary

The confessions showed that the widow [of] Balint Czordas [Christine] was the second in command, a sort of vice-president of the murder syndicate. She confessed to having helped poison twenty husbands and, also, during the hungry years, just after the war, a few children who were hard to feed. The morning after her confession the authorities wished to ask one or two more questions, but she had committed suicide during the night. Three other widows, sharing her cell, had watched Balint make a rope from bedding and hang herself, without interfering.


1939 – Carina Favato – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

“Additional precautions were taken last night to guard a confessed woman principal in a widespread insurance-poison ring who twice attempted suicide while shouting “witches” were chasing her. High police officials said no official report had been made, but guards declared on one occasion they found Mrs. Carina Favato with a handkerchief knotted around her neck. Several hours later, they said, she plunged a safety pin into her arteries.”

1950 – Mrs. Schaub – Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Charles Schaub, 43, who lived in the house from 1912 until May of last year told police his step-mother, Anna, killed herself by gas in 1928.

1957 – Mary Perkins – Selma, Alabama, USA (attempt)

At the start of the probe, Mrs. Perkins shot herself in the chest in a suicide attempt, but was hospitalized and recovered.

1975 – Betty Jakim – Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

1984 – Ada Wittenmyer – Dickson, Tennessee, USA

While awaiting trial, she hanged herself with a prison bedsheet on Aug. 8, 1984, and left a note saying “at last I have found peace.”

1994 – Aleata Beach – Chickasha, Oklahoma, USA

1998 – María Concepción Ladino Gutiérrez – Bogota, Colombia (attempt)

2002 – Anne Grigg-Booth – Keighley, West Yorkshire, England

Aug. 31?, 2005, died at home of an overdose of anti-depressants before trial scheduled for April 2006 on 13 charges

2002 – Julia Lynn Turner – Marietta, Georgia, USA

Autopsy results on Julia Lynn Womack Turner showed she died from the "toxic effects of the prescription medication propranolol, a blood pressure medication that Ms. Turner had been prescribed," according to Georgia's chief medical examiner.

2004 – Sonya Caleffi – Como, Italy

Three attempted suicides.

2007 – Shirley Winters – New York state, USA

Suicide attempts.

2009 – “Ota Ward Tokyo Serial Killer Mother” – Ota Ward, Tokyo, Japan

After the unnamed woman’s suicide, the skeletal remains of four newborns were found in her home.

2012 – Miyoko Sumida “The Piranha Family” – Amagasaki, Hyogo prefecture, Japan

Arrested on Dec. 5, 2012; choked herself in her cell despite being on suicide watch Dec. 12, 2012.

2014 – Angeline Mabhiza – Zimbabwe; 5 (4 own babies; cousin), suicide.

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