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.

1 comment:

Joyce Schmidt said...

Thankyou for sharing these stories. I ran across this doing genealogy research on a side branch of my Keller family.
So startling to read as cause of death "Homicidal blow to head with AX"