Thursday, September 8, 2011

Victimology: Henry Wayne


September 17th, 2011 will mark 100 years since the (unofficial?) beginning of the series of murders known as the Midwest Axe Murders. I am in the camp of these murders being the work of a highly mobile serial killer. Of particular interest to those who study serial killers are the victimology. What traits, characteristics or actions lead to the killer choosing this particular victim? Ideally I want to start examining the victims a bit more in order to gather information that could lead to, at least a few, conclusions about victim selection by the killer. Since the Wayne’s were possibly the very first victims of the Midwest Axeman, I’ll look at them first, starting with Henry “Frank” Wayne.

Henry Wayne was the third of eight children born to George and Terrissa Wayne. Henry grew up in Pulaski County, Indiana, near the small town of Medaryville. George was a farmer, originally from Ohio, and made sure his children went to school. Henry alternatively went by Frank which was the short form of his middle name, Francis. Henry married Blanche McGinnis in 1908 and their daughter, Lulamay was born in 1909. Probably around September of 1910 Henry left for Colorado Springs to receive treatment for tuberculosis at the recently opened Modern Woodman Sanatorium. He stayed in the Sanatorium for 11 months and was released. Arthur Burnham told investigators he had told Henry about the cottage next to his and Henry decided to move in. According to Burnham that was the extent of their socializing. In early August of 1911 Burnham was told by the cook at the sanatorium that Henry was to be his replacement in the kitchen. Henry worked there for a few days then went back to Indiana to bring out his family. On August 23, Henry placed a call with the operator to Burnham and asked about the empty cottage next door. On August 31, 1911 Henry made a deposit of $55.00 ($1300 today) in a local bank. Blanche Wayne had told neighbors this was from the sale of furniture in Indiana.

A restored TB hut on the old grounds of the Modern Woodman Sanatorium

Initial investigations of the murders focused around love triangle hypotheses and it wasn’t just regarding the Burnhams. Remember I said in a previous post that Denver Chief of Police Hamilton Armstrong believed the murderer was a woman? Well the hypothesis behind this belief was Henry, away from his family for so long, had been friendly with another woman and Henry broke the whole thing off when his wife and daughter got to town. There isn’t anything to suggest this was the case at all. In fact it’s very likely that Henry spent the majority of his time at the sanatorium before he was released. According to accounts in the newspaper, Henry had no friends in the city and only vague acquaintances at the sanatorium any way. The only solid evidence of Henry interacting with anyone was an argument he was seen having with another man in the front yard of his cottage the week before the murders. No one could say what the argument was about and the man was never found.

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