Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mary E. Hartman, Suspected California Serial Killer - 1930


FULL TEXT: Long Beach, Cal. Apr. 24 – Mrs. Mary Hartman, whose husband, son and daughter died under circumstances which police described as mysterious, was held in technical custody today pending an investigation.

Mrs. Hartman’s detention followed discovery by autopsy surgeons yesterday of a poison in vital organs of Ruth Hartman, 14, who died April 14.

Coroner Frank Nance, of Los Angeles county, ordered the bodies of O. B. Hartman, 47, the woman’s husband, who died two years ago following a mysterious attack in which his head was injured, and Henry A. Hartman, 22, her son, who died last year apparently of ptomaine poisoning, exhumed for further examination.

The husband’s death was accredited to the attack, but attending physicians reported he was on the road to recovery when he had a sudden relapse and died.

Miss Hartman and her mother were stricken ill after eating sandwiches. Mrs. Hartman rapidly recovered, but the girl grew worse and died after a week. Physicians, who said they were not satisfied with … [incomplete text. The story continues on page 2, which is missing from this particular copy]

[“Authorities Hold Woman In Deaths Of Three Persons – Members of Family Died Under Mysterious Circumstances; Investigation Begun,” Las Vegas Daily Optic (N. M.), Apr. 24, 1930, p. 1]

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FULL TEXT: Long Beach, Ca., April 25. – Bodies of the husband and son of Mrs. Mary Hartman, to-day were being examined for traces of poison in connection with an alleged insurance swindle, despite denial of the woman that she had anything to do with their deaths.

Exhumation of the body of O. B. Hartman, 47, who died in 1927, and of his son, Henry Hartman, 22, who died a year ago, was ordered yesterday following the discovery of poison in the vital organs of Ruth Hartman, 22, who died a year ago, was ordered yesterday following the discovery of poison in the vital organs of Ruth Hartman, 14, Mrs. Hartman’s daughter, who died two weeks ago.

Mrs. Hartman, beneficiary of insurance policies held by the three members of her family, is being held pending to-day’s autopsy. Alienists who have observed the woman expressed the belief she was unbalanced mentally.

To all questions she made no reply except: “I love them; how could I have killed them?”

[“Exhume Bodies For Poison In Alleged Swindle – Woman Denies She Killed Three to Collect Life Insurance,” Harrisburg Telegraph (Pa.), Apr. 25, 1930, p. 9]

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Victims:
1928 – O. B. Hartman – husband, 47, died
1929 – Henry A. Hartman, 22, son, died
April 14 , 1930 – Ruth Hartman, 14, daughter, died

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[Source for headline used in image: “Woman Held For Inquiry Into Deaths of Husband, Child,” The Vidette-Messenger (In.), Apr. 24, 1930, p. 1]

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