Why Ruth Chopped Up Her Friends
(Master Detective February 2020)
One day in 1931, Arthur V. Anderson, a baggage-man at the South Pacific station in Los Angeles, became curious about a couple of trunks in the baggage-room. The trunks had arrived a while before from Phoenix, Arizona, and it was evident from the aroma rising from them that something was not well inside. Anderson wasn’t looking for murder evidence. He was looking for illegal shipments of venison into the state. Blood dripped from the big black trunk onto the station platform. Anderson looked. Anderson sniffed. Anderson stuck around and waited. Around noon a copper-haired young woman and a red-haired young man in a college sweater and corduroys walked into the baggage-room. The young woman handed… more »
The Eyeball Killer
(True Detective February 2020)
Pathologist Dr. Elizabeth Peacock studied the body stretched out on a blue plastic trolley in the morgue. The body wore only a bloodstained T-shirt, and there was more blood on its face. The notes on the case said she was a hooker. Mary Ann Pratt, 33, had worked nights in the notorious Star Motel area in Oak Cliff, Dallas, where as many as 40 prostitutes charged up to $50 for a “flatbed” – jargon for straight sex. She had been found dead by a bunch of kids, lying face down in the street in a nearby residential neighbourhood, on December 13th, 1990. Among Dr. Peacock’s audience at this post-mortem was Dallas homicide detective John Westphalen,… more »
Christmas Day Horror Of The Slain Girls
(True Crime January 2020)
Even the few police who are on duty look forward to a nice quiet Christmas. Obviously they get the odd case of too much drinking or domestic disputes, but on the whole, it’s as quiet a time for them as it is for the rest of us. But for Vancouver police, December 25th, 2017, was a Christmas Day unlike any other. And in the worst possible way. That Christmas shift in the suburban station of Oak Bay, the usual skeleton staff of officers was making the most of a relatively quiet day at the heart of the festive period. Their feelings of goodwill were soon shattered, however, after a concerned mother called up, asking for… more »
Serial Killer Used His Garden As A Crematorium
(Murder Most Foul No. 114)
Thirteen-year-old Erich Baumeister’s garden was like paradise for the other kids in the neighbourhood. There were 18 acres of grass and rough woodland, open space and dense bushes, and since none of it was very well cared for, there was no fear of offending Mr. and Mrs. Baumeister. You couldn’t offend the Baumeisters by tramping about in their garden anyway. Their huge mansion on the million-dollar-plus estate at Westfield, Indianapolis, was a tip. All the rubbish in the state seemed to be piled up there. Erich’s pal and neighbour Kevin Dennison dived behind a clump of bushes into a clearing. “Look what I’ve found!” he shouted, emerging from the other side of the bushes. What… more »
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