Wednesday, January 23, 2008

September 20, 1911, Colorado Springs, CO

The two families were the Waynes and the Burnhams. Francis H. Wayne (or Henry F. Wayne) had recently moved to Colorado Springs from Medaryville, Indiana at the behest of his local Modern Woodmen of America camp, of which he was a member. In 1909 the national organization had opened up a 1000 acre sanatorium for members who suffered from tuberculosis (consumption). Today, W. Woodmen Road runs by Woodman Valley Park and there stands the foundation of a barn, burned down in 1994. This crumbling foundation is all that remains of the old sanatorium. When he arrived, Henry met an inmate who worked in the kitchen peeling potatoes. His name was Arthur Burnham and he told Henry about several empty houses for rent in the same neighborhood where the Burnhams lived. Henry paid two months rent in advance and was soon joined by his wife, Blanche, and their baby daughter, Lulumay. In later posts I’ll get into more detail about the victims and their histories.
A few weeks later on Sunday night, the 17th of September, an unknown subject (UNSUB for you crime fanatics out there) broke into the back room of the Waynes’ two room cottage. He (not sexist just easier to say) carried with him and axe taken from the back porch of the cottage and made his way into the front bedroom and killed Henry, Blanche and Lulumay where they lay in bed. Either not satisfied or having killed the wrong people, the UNSUB went next and broke into the back room of the Burnhams’ cottage. Arthur Burnham spent most of his time at the sanatorium, which was twelve miles away, and on this night was not at home. The intruder killed Arthur’s wife, Alice May, and his son and daughter, John and Nellie. It appeared Nellie had woke up and made a break for it but was struck down before she could get away.
The two cottages sat quiet until September 20th when Alice Burnham’s sister, Nettie, and a friend discovered the bodies of Alice and the children lying in one bed with their heads beaten in and covered with bedclothes and other clothing. About an hour later the Wayne family was discovered and pandemonium broke out in the little community. I will discuss both crime scenes more in depth in a later post because I want to get into some speculating.
Things I will cover more in depth later are the two suspects and as I mentioned before, the victims. Bye for now.


Anonymous said...

from 1884-1918 axe murders were reported and killer never caught,started in austin tx 1885then in 1908 in colarada springs and other murders occur in portland ore and wash. ,then tx and la. murders 1911-1912,then between 1912-1914 murders occured in ellsworth kansas1911,villisca iowa1912,colarada springs 1912,monmouth illinois1912,columbia missiour1912,blue island,ill.1914 ;then again in new orleans la..never caught they think he used the trains

Anonymous said...

Don't know if you can include the Monmouth murders as they were done with a piece of pipe with an elbow on it. The New Orleans murderer was an attention seeker and many of his victims lived. But in the late 1800's there was Lizzie Borden and Willie Sells of Erie, Kansas. Ax murdering seemed to be a common practice. The ones that I think bear the MOST similarity are where a 2nd break-in occurred or was attempted. This would suggest a misogynistic sociopath and he seemed to be evolving his modus as he went from site to site. In the early ones he was enthusiastic and disorganized while i the latter he tried to prevent making such a mess of it. Also the murder weapons seemed to be chosen opportunistically.

Inspector Winship said...

The gas pipe used at Monmouth was picked up along the way to the crime scene. A new church was being built across the street from the victim's house and this is likely where the pipe came from. The kind of weapon is irrelevant in this case as the style of weapon was still a bludgeon. The killer's MO did seem to become more refined with each new crime scene.

Anonymous said...

After reading considerably more it becomes apparent that several of the murders-if not sexually motivated-had sexually opportunistic elements. This would seem to be a very strong link aside from the mode of entry, the 2nd attempt in a different household, and the opportunistic murder weapons.And it appears the murderer was not so much superstitious as self-conscious about his own appearance. He doesn't strike me as being fearful but perhaps ashamed of his compulsion making seeing his victims OR himself unpleasant.Yet, such secret shame was hardly as strong as his compulsion.