The discovery of the nearly naked body of pretty 22-year-old Sylvia Gaines alongside Green Lake in Seattle in 1926 set off a scandal that rocked the American city for months. She had been battered and strangled, and the crime scene made it look like a sexual attack.

The finger of suspicion fell on Sylvia’s father, Wallace Gaines, who had separated from her mother when Sylvia was only five years old. So when father and daughter met up again in Seattle in 1925 only a few months before she was murdered, Gaines hardly knew his daughter.

Sylvia decided to move in with her father and his second wife. The prosecution claimed that Gaines quickly developed an incestuous relationship with Sylvia and that they quarrelled incessantly. A neighbour said that Gaines and Sylvia were sharing a bed and that Mrs. Gaines slept on the couch. An employee in a Seattle hotel testified that in November 1925 he saw Sylvia and her father in bed together.

Gaines told a friend after Sylvia’s body was found: “You know what I have always told you, that if anyone in my house told me when I should come and go and when I should drink and how much, why, I would kill them… Well, that’s what happened.”

It was suggested that when Sylvia wanted to leave her father’s house because they were quarrelling so much, and go to stay with an uncle, he killed her to keep her revealing their “unnatural relationship.”

Gaines was found guilty and hanged on Friday, August 31st, 1928, in Walla Walla Prison.