In the autumn of 1910, a young woman disappeared. She was Maybelle Millman of Ann Arbor.
A few days later, parts of a dismembered human corpse were found in two sacks, floating in the Ecorse creek in the western suburbs of Detroit. The next day, another sack was found, washed ashore on Grosse Isle. And the mystery of Maybelle’s disappearance was solved.
Her brokenhearted mother and brother Harry, bowed down by the terrible secret that led to Maybelle’s death, held a funeral for her at St Thomas’s Catholic Church and buried her there in the cemetery. Then a witness came forward to tell police the name of the last person to see Maybelle alive. And the police knew the man well.
He was a notorious Detroit physician, Dr. George A Fritch, who’d been involved in a scandal a few years before. As one newspaper would later succinctly describe the affair:
DR. FRITCH was previously arrested in connection with the mysterious death of Miss Edith Presley, proofreader for the state senate, who died under suspicious circumstances in Detroit in April, 1907. After that tragedy, two men were charged; one a member of the lower house of the legislature, which was thrown out for lack of evidence. The case against Dr. Fritch was nolle prossed as prosecutors could not get the testimony of the legislator.
Two coroner’s physicians examined the “grewsome” remains of the Ann Arbor woman and announced that Maybelle Millman met her death on the operating table. There was every indication, the medical men said, that “means to produce artificial respiration had been resorted to and the flesh covered with blisters, mute evidence of a surgeon’s attempt to keep the young woman alive while under an anaesthetic.”
Dr. Fritch, when detained, said he never met Maybelle Millman in his life. And for a while, that’s where things stood.
..read the rest of the story on Clews Monday…