Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mrs. Walroth, Double Black Widow: Murder by Proxy – Nebraska, 1878


FULL TEXT: The News published yesterday a brief account of a terrible crime committed near Big Springs, Nebraska, where a wanton woman named Walroth caused one of her paramours to murder another and throw the body into the Platte. Afterwards she confessed the deed, overcome by remorse. The Omaha Herald prints there facts in detail, together with the following additional particulars:

As she finished her terrible narrative she fell down in a swoon and the men hastily left the house. They went to Big Springs and telegraphed these facts to Sheriff Zwiefel, and his deputy, Tom Beson, started immediately on a hand car to the Walroth ranch, which is near the railroad track. He arrived there at one o’clock in the morning. Duboise, unconscious that the guilty woman had divulged his secret, was asleep in the house, and came to the door when the deputy sheriff rapped. As he was in the act of lighting a lamp, the officer snapped the handcuffs on him, and Duboise, turning deadly pale, exclaimed, “What do you want me for? That murder?” The clicking of the hand-cuffs awakened the woman and she came out of her room shrieking for mercy. They were both taken in custody and brought to Sidney, and locked up. The preliminary examination was begun to-day, but the attorney for the defense asking a continuance was granted until next Monday. Men sent to search for the body discovered it half a mile below the place of murder. The river at that point is very wide and shallow, filled with constantly shifting banks of sand. A little piece of blue cloth on a bar in the middle of the river attracted their attention. Closely scrutinizing the object, they discovered a half submurged [sic] pair of pants, and by jumping from bar to bar, and wading the shallow channels, they reached the sand bank. A human hand was protruding from the wet sand, and by digging with their fingers they soon exhumed the body of Phillips. Two bullet holes through his head corresponded exactly with the account of the half crazed woman. Part of her statement is probably untrue. Last night in a delirious sleep, she repeated the whole story with some changes which show her intimate knowledge of the deed, which enabled her to go into the minutia of the crime, was gained by her personal presence at the scene. She was at the elbow of the murderer, prompting the deed. Her personal history is remarkable. She was married to Walroth four or five years ago; lived with him a year, was divorced for improper conduct; remarried to him after less than a year had passed; divorced again for adultery; married a man named Rurdy; was divorced from him and once more remarried Walroth a year ago. She has confessed that this was not the first victim she has put away through the agency of Duboise. All these events have occurred in a life less than twenty-two years duration.

[“A Female Fiend. – The Latest Big Springs Tragedy – Finding of the Dead Body – Thee Woman’s History.” Daily Rocky Mountain News (Denver, Co.), Mar. 3, 1878, p. 4]

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For links to other cases of woman who murdered 2 or more husbands (or paramours), see Black Widow Serial Killers.

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