Friday, October 30, 2009

Tragedy in Harrisonville...

Early in the morning of June 10th, 1913 Mr. Bagshaw was awakened by a tapping at his bedroom window.  He looked out and saw his neighbor, Ida Keller.  He opened the door and she told him an intruder had killed her husband and oldest child with an axe.  She was carrying in her hand the bloody axe and a lantern.  He allowed the woman to use his phone in order to call a doctor and she left, taking the axe and lantern with her.  Neighbors arrived at the Keller house about ten minutes later and found Arthur Keller lying in bed gasping for breath, his skull smashed.  Ida Keller was kneeling beside her seven year old daughter, Margaret, bathing her face.  Arthur Keller died a few hours later and Margaret would die the following evening. 

Ida recounted how she had been woken up by a loud "slamming" sound, like a door might make.  As she sat up in bed she saw a man carrying an axe walking into her room from the room her husband and daughter were sleeping in.  He swung the axe at her but she was able to catch the handle and redirect the blow to her bed frame.  She then struggled with the intruder until he finally gave up, released the axe and fled through the kitchen door, first unlocking it then re-locking it behind him.  A burning "paper hat sack" illuminated the room where her Arthur and Margaret lay and in this light Ida was able to make out the intruder was:

[wearing] a black hat, had a red handkerchief tied over his face, that his hands were those of a white man and that he wore brown socks.

When investigators took note of the crime scene they found a burned paper sack sitting in a chair in the husband's room and the kitchen door locked with key still in the lock on the outside of the door.  The key was attached to a key ring with many other keys on it.  A piece of the bed frame where Ida had slept had been broken off, apparently where the killer's swing had missed its mark.  When asked how it was she could see the color of the man's socks in such low light, Ida responded the socks were those of her husband's and she knew them very well.  Hard as it might be to believe, the case of this homicidal sock thief would get weirder.  Have a safe and happy Halloween - lock up your axes.

Monday, October 19, 2009

12k plus!

Whoa!  According to my little web counter thingamadoodle I have had over 12 thousand visits!  Why?  It has to be an accounting error right?  Must be a lot of bored people out there or maybe it's the Halloween season and people are just searching scary stuff like axe murder?  If you are someone who found this place on purpose, make sure to look around and don't be too shy.  For those of you doing a word search I have an upcoming post on an axe murder in Missouri that didn't involve anyone named Moore.  For now I'll just get back to building my balloon.  Boy I hope to fly to Colorado Springs in it one day :)  Anyway, if those numbers are correct; thank you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Another axe murder in Colorado

On Friday December 4, 1908, Nicholas Fernandez returned a wagon to the home of Cosmo Garcia. Fernandez had borrowed the wagon earlier in the day. He had knocked on the door repeatedly receiving no answer and apparently there had been some arrangement made for the use of the wagon because Fernandez borrowed it anyway, assuming the family was still asleep. Upon returning the wagon, Fernandez noticed the cabin looked as quiet as it had in the morning so he broke into the house, assuming something was wrong; he was right.

Cosmo lived in a remote cabin with his wife, Viviana, and two daughters, Maggie and Toribia. Maggie was the younger of the two at fifteen. Her sister was twenty-five. A friend of the family, 60 year old Luz Garrule was also staying with the Garcias at the time. Two weeks prior Cosmo had hired a man named Francisco Martinez to help about the place and he lived with the family. Cosmo and Viviana were laying in the front room, both beaten to death with an axe that lay next to their bodies. In other rooms were found Toribia and Luz. It was apparent that the two women were killed in their sleep and the parents were killed when they came out of their room to investigate. Maggie was gone as was the hired man. The murders had been committed on Wednesday night, December 2nd.

Now this case was pretty cut and dry. A posse tracked Francisco Martinez to a canyon roughly thirty miles away from the Garcia cabin. Martinez shot at the posse and shielded himself with his hostage as he began to take her up a rocky trail too narrow for horses to follow. He was cornered in a remote canyon by the posse but before a move could be made on him he killed the girl then himself.  

I discovered this crime while systematically searching for crimes similar to Colorado Springs in the area. Now the Garcia cabin is near Colorado Springs the same way Tallahassee is near Miami; that is to say they’re in the same state. The area where the crime took place is so remote, the place names are known only to the locals and no pictures exist of the area, at least for public viewing. This was a pretty typical mass murder crime. The killer may have had some idea he could get away with the crime but he was fully prepared to end it all if he became cornered. It’s hard to say what the Midwest axe murderer would have done if he had been successfully tracked. The methodical nature of the crimes suggests he had no intention of being caught.