Schenectady County, New York

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Crime and Punishment


Murder Mystery in Discovery of Hacked Torso at Schenectady
SCHENECTADY, N. Y., June 20.-Hacked to pieces, the mutilated body of a young woman, fished from the Mohawk River here, gave the police today the grimmest mystery to solve they have had in years. Head and Legs had been rudely chopped off the body. Only the torso has been found. It was wrapped in oilcloth, put in a burlap sack and weighted down with a 20-pound slab of concrete. This concrete, a white overskirt and a white petticoat, except for a slight scar on the abdomen, were the only clues to the identity of the victim of the murder. The police today dragged the river for the head and legs of the woman. Holcomb Jackson, the coroner, said the dead woman was about 25 years old and weighed about 150 pounds.

[Trenton Evening Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Saturday, June 20, 1914, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

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Efforts to Solve the Mohawk River Murder Mystery.
Schenectady, N. Y., June 26.-Search for clues to the Mohawk river murder mystery today shifted to Lowell, Mass., where a circus, which played in Schenectady on May 29, was billed for a performance.

This line of investigation followed reports to the police today, that grain in bags similar to the one in which the dismembered torso was found a week ago, had been delivered at the circus grounds and that all of them had not been returned.

Belief of the authorities that some people connected with the circus knew something of the murder was strengthened by the fact, that on May 341, pieces of women's clothing stained and torn, were found in the vicinity of the circus grounds. The clothing after lying beside the road for several days was thrown on a fire by Adolph Hatje, a farmer. Parts of it remain, however, and efforts were made today to ascertain of the charred remnants correspond to the articles of apparel found with the body taken from the river.

[Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, New York, Friday, June 26, 1914, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

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Torso Taken from River June 19-Still Unidentified
SCHENECTADY, N. Y., July 4-The Mohawk river today gave up the head and right arm of the slain girl whose torso was found in the stream on June 19, but her identity is undetermined. Norman N. Niven struck the head with an oar as he was rowing a quarter of a mile below where the torso was found. Within an hour Fred Looman, who was rowing with two women friends found the victim's right arm a mile above where the head was picked up.

The girl was a brunette, apparently about 25 years old. Her eyes are believed to have been grey. Owing to the length of time that the parts of the body had been in the water, it was impossible to tell much about her features. The general opinion among the authorities is that she was a foreigner.

Physicians are inclined to the belief now that the person who dismembered the body had a knowledge of surgery. A man's handkerchief was knotted around the lower part of the head. Thus far officials have been 8unable to find a laundry mark on it, but they have not given up all hope of obtaining such a clue.

Descriptions of the slain woman were sent broadcast tonight in the hope that she may be identified by some person in another city. Local authorities have searched their records in vain for a description of a missing woman similar to that of the victim.

[Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, Sunday, July 5, 1914, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

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Schenectady Authorities in Trail of Russian Who Lived with Victim.
SCHENECTADY, N. Y., July 13-Dist.-Atty. A. T. Blessing tonight stated emphatically that he believed the mystery connected with the finding of a torso, head and one arm of a woman in the Mohawk river several weeks ago had been solved. He says the woman was a Russian employed two weeks at a hotel and was known as Eva, and that her slayer is a Russian who boarded with her and her husband in New York city before they came here. The police have his name, but are withholding it for the present, thinking an arrest may be made in 24 hours.

The authorities base their solution on the finding of a small shack beside the Delaware & Hudson railroad track about a mile from the spot where the torso was found. Discoveries made there today, the authorities say, show that the couple began living together May 25 in the shack. A few days later the woman was missed, and then the man began a canvass of the neighborhood trying to dispose of furniture which was of a very good quality.

He told neighbors the woman had run away. A man in another part of the city purchased some goods, which included a large rug, showing what police declare to be bloodstains and a trunk of woman's clothing, all measuring 25 inches about the waist, the measurements of the torso. This was also covered with red dog hair, identical with that on the skirts wrapped about the dismembered parts found in the river.

It is learned that a family living in the upper part of the city now has a red Russian dog, which was given to them by this man before he disappeared. The woman's companion left this city June 7 and the police believe he went to New York. The authorities in New York have been notified and give the name and full description of the man.

[Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, July 14, 1914, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

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Eva Kenska the Latest Person to be Declared the Victim
Schenectady, N. Y., July 14.-Eva Kenska, formerly of 231 East Thirteenth street, New York city, is believed by the police to be the Mohawk river murder victim. Many clews pointing to her were obtained last night, but not until today was her full identity established. She was known here merely as "Eva."

The girl came here in May and lived with a man whose name the police have been unable to learn. Later she disappeared. Her companion sold off the major portion of their household goods and dropped out of sight. They had resided in a section of the city near the river.

[Watertown Daily Times, Watertown, New York, Friday, June 26, 1914, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]


MURDER AT SCHENECTADY.-On Sunday morning, a most atrocious murder was committed about a mile from the city of Schenectady, on Troy road, by two brothers named Van Alen, on a person named Garrit Steers. The deed was penetrated at a house of ill fame, and it is said grew out of a quarrel about a girl who lived there. The Van Alens beat Steers till he fell to the ground, when he plead in the most moving terms, that they should save his life, but the unfeeling men paid no attention to his prayers, and violently jumped on his breast till life was destroyed. One of the murderers soon after surrendered himself and made confession, the other attempted to escape, but he was arrested on Sunday night. The girl is also in jail, on suspicion of being an accessory.
[Hampshire Gazette, Northhampton, Massachusetts, Wednesday, July 11, 1827, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

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