Sunday, March 17, 2019

"Lady of Death" visits, but tells no tales

Of the 10 most famous myths and legends of Irish folklore, the fairies reside on the top shelf.
"It is said that they live in “cnocs” (hollow hills, in Irish), which are located in the “sidhe”. The “sidhe” are mounds where megalithic monuments are erected in many places on the island. 
One of the most famous legends about fairies is that referring to the “Lady of Death,” a fairy that appears during the night with hair loose and red eyes. According to the lore, it is said that she arrives at the home of a family to mourn for several days the death that will fall on one of its members, says Ireland Before You Die (IB4UD).

In real life, often too few clues, confusion of possible or conflicting circumstances, resist apprehension


By Rob Carrigan, robcarrigan1@gmail.com

Unsolved murders make an early appearance in the Pikes Peak area. These matters, as in most such stories, seem to come in threes.
"The ideal detective story is on in which dogged perseverance on the part of detectives, and their ability to ferret out clues, tend to bring the villain to justice," wrote Carl F. Mathews back in the early1960s. Mathews spent his 32-year career doing just that, retiring as the superintendent of the Bureau of Identification for Colorado Springs Police Department.
"However, in real life, there is often too few clues or else confusion of possible or conflicting circumstances, which resist the identification or apprehension of suspects."
After his retirement, Mathews often wrote of unsolved cases.
A transcript on file in the Pioneer's Museum of Colorado Springs concerns the case before David Spielman, first coroner of El Paso County. 
It reads, in part:
"An inquisition holden at Colorado City in the County of El Paso, on the 18th day of September, A.D. 1869, before David Spielman, Coroner of said county, on the dead body of William Carrolton, lying there dead, by the jurors whose names are hereunto subscribed, the said jurors upon their oath do say that the aforesaid deceased came to his end on road leading from Pueblo to Colorado City, by five balls, one of which penetrated the neck, one the arm, one the point of the shoulder, and two the body in the region of the heart. The balls appeared to be buckshot, probably fired by one gun, by a person unknown. In the testimony whereof, the said Jurors, have hereto set their hands, the day and year aforesaid. C.E. Myers, Wray Beattie, John Langmeyer, Emile Gerung, Thomas Hunt, Thomas T. Reilly."
Other unsolved murders followed in the region.
A letter to the "Weekly Gazette," published on March 21, 1875, conveyed the information that two bodies of two persons had been found on the plains east of Fountain, on Saturday, March 13.
"On Monday, Esquire Perkins summoned a jury and proceeded to the spot. On arriving there, the bodies were found to be covered with snow, and on removing the snow, it was found that the flesh was entirely gone from the bones. Examination showed one to be a man, the other to be a woman, both apparently about twenty-five years of age. Both had been wearing ordinary clothing but no boots or shoes were found. Except for a small lead pencil in the vest pocket, nothing was found except the rim of a .44 center fire cartridge near the remains," reported Mathews, years later.
"The corpses were found about 100 yards south of the road leading from Fountain to Perkins' ranch on Squirrel Creek, and about fourteen miles east of Fountain. The bodies had been thrown tall course grass, which prevented them from being seen from the road. The impression was that they were immigrants and had been murdered and thrown there sometime during the previous summer. The remains and clothing were being kept at Ames' store in Fountain in the hope that some identification could be made. Eastern papers were asked to please copy," it was reported.
Years passed, and other unsolved murders were reported, but none so tragic as the August 23, 1923, story of young bride, brutally slain.
"Elsie Jogenson Suttle, 17-year-old bride of barely five weeks, was brutally murdered in her bedroom, within hearing distance of a number of men, none of whom heard anything unusual or saw any trace of the murderer. Workmen on the roof an adjoining house and members of the family in the back yard failed to hear any sound of a struggle. The first person to discover the brutal assault was Mrs. Richard Suttle, mother-in-law of the girl, upon here return about 10 a.m. from a marketing trip," Mathews wrote.
"Mrs. Suttle opened the door of the bedroom, and the tragedy was disclosed; her screams aroused and brought here husband from the pavement, not thirty fee distant, where he had been working. From across the street, brought by Mrs. Suttle's screams, came S.J. Wilson, of 501 Cascade, and T.J. Parks of 111West Moreno, who was working next door. The District Attorney's office authorized the Denver Police Department to hold Mrs. E.C. Lowe, mother of the girl (why, I never found out,)" Mathews said.
"Mrs. Suttle related that she had called Elsie about 8:30 that morning to say, 'Elsie, that same fellow's at the door," and received the reply; 'Oh, to h--l with him.'"
Shortly after, the elder woman went shopping. Between then and 10 a.m., the girl was clubbed to death.
Physicians, including a brain specialist performed an autopsy and the coroner in this case declared the wounds which laid the girl's scalp open and cracked the skull must have been been given by a blunt instrument, presumably a hammer, a pistol butt or hatchet. She was beaten down with one blow, and then hit again and again, was the opinion expressed by those performing the autopsy.
To complicate the mystery, "Under the girl's pillow had been found five threatening letters, simply signed "Jack," and the mark of suspicion was turned upon him. He was said to be between 21 and 25 years of age, medium height, dressed in a hiking suit with polished leather puttees, and said to have been carrying a pack or blanket roll on his back.
Several complicated arrests were made following, including a Cuban-born Denver Cobbler, named Jack Fernandez, the girl's step-father Jorgenson, who in turn accused the Suttle family of the dastardly dead. Another character, Henry Waklin, was also picked up in Flagstaff, Arizona, and was said to match the description of the 'leather-putteed' suspect. He told a number of unreliable stories about his whereabouts at the time of the killing, but eventually proved to have an alibi in Dodge City, Kansas that ruled him out.
The case was eventually marked "closed." None of various suspects were charged with the crime, or ever called to atone for the murder.
As Mathews would note: Another unsolved mystery. Fortunately, "These are few in number compared with the cases which were solved."
The "Lady of Death" arrives and mourns at the victim's family home, but in her fairy way, she is not always clear as to the precise circumstances.

Photo Info:
View of the Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, shows a nine-story Italianate structure by architects Warren and Wetmore, with hipped terra-cotta roofs, friezes, a cupola with weather vane, and an arcaded entry. The Italian fountain (installed 1923, same year as the Lady of Death visits Elsie Jogenson Suttle,) in the foreground is surrounded by lawn, balustrades, trees, and paved drives. 



1 comment:

CindyLouWho said...

Very sad story about Elsie. Hard to believe that no one so close by saw or heard anything. And what about the threatening letters? Hadn't she shared them with anyone or the police? Very odd indeed.