Saturday, June 03, 2023

June 3, 1975: One of Three Dead Women at Chicago Abortion Mill

 "Susanna Chisholm"* was a pretty young mother of four when she went to Biogenetics Ltd. in Chicago for a safe and legal abortion on June 3, 1975.  

Even though 35-year-old Susanna was more than 12 weeks pregnant, the Biogenetics doctor chose to ignore the Illinois law that required abortions after 12 weeks to be performed in hospitals. Within hours of her abortion, Susanna had bled to death from a punctured uterus. She had paid $600 for the fatal abortion.

Biogenetics (which had been the target of at least 30 malpractice suits) claimed that their doctor was only repairing damage Susanna had done to herself in an attempted self-induced abortion. However, Biogenetics settled the case with Susanna's survivors for $75,000. 

Brenda Benton and Synthia Dennard also died after abortions at Biogenetics. 

Biogenetics's owner Kenneth Yellin was gunned down outside his facility in an apparent gangland slaying in 1979.

*Pseudonym used at request of family member.

Watch "Was Susanna's Abortion Legal or Illegal?" on YouTube.


June 3, 1962: Teen Mother Dismembered and Flushed Down the Drains


Like the Jacqueline Smith case in the previous decade, the strange events surrounding the death of 19-year-old Barbara Jane Lofrumento have become almost an urban legend. But the tale of Barbara's tragic death and its aftermath is all too true. 

The Pregnancy

Barbara had been an active student in high school. She played volleyball, tennis, basketball, and badminton and was on the honor squad. She was part of the staff of the school newspaper and the yearbook. Barbara was also part of the chorus, the French Conversation club, and the French Journalism club. Nicknamed "Bobbie Lu," she was described in her yearbook as "quiet but friendly." 

When she was a sophomore at the College of New Rochelle, a Roman Catholic girls' school, Barbara informed her parents that she was pregnant. They went with her to her boyfriend's house and discussed the situation with him and his parents. He wanted to marry Barbara, but the Lofrumentos reportedly didn't think Barbara wanted to marry him. They also didn't think that marriage was a wise option for their daughter. They left the home, saying that they would take care of things.

The Abortion

Dominick and Rose Lofrumento cast about for a reputable abortionist and were referred by an acquaintance to 41-year-old Dr. Harvey Norman Lothringer. Lothringer, a Princeton graduate, got his medical degree from the New York University Bellevue College of Medicine.

Lothringer examined Barbara on June 2, 1962. Barbara's parents said that Lothringer had reassured them that although Barbara's pregnancy was 5 months advanced, there was no danger. Lothringer was given $500.

He arranged to pick up Barbara and her mother at Grand Central Station. Dominick Lofrumento accompanied his wife and daughter to the station, handed them off to Lothringer and Cuban-born former stewardess Theresa "Terry" Carillo, who served as Lothringer's receptionist, and boarded a train back home. Lothringer and Carillo took Rose and Barbara to his office, which was in his 19-room, $85,000 home (over $800,000 in 2022 dollars) in a wealthy section of Queens. 

This was typical of the "back alley abortion" -- a reputable physician would make sneaky arrangements to do abortions at the site of their legitimate practices, taking the woman in "through the back alley" rather than the front door. In fact, by far the bulk of criminal abortion were performed by doctors.

Harvey Lothringer
They arrived just after 3 AM on the 3rd. 
Rose Lofrumento handed over another $500. Carillo slipped away upstairs. 

While Mrs. Lofrumento waited, Lothringer sent Barbara into a room where she removed her underwear and reported feeling unwell from the injection Lothringer had given her. Lothringer then took Barbara into his office and left Mrs. Lofrumento in his waiting room. 

About half an hour later, Terry Carillo appeared in the waiting room. Rose fretfully asked her, "What's taking them so long?" 

Carillo reassured her, "Don't worry. She's in good hands."

At about 5 AM, Lothringer told Mrs. Lofrumento that Barbara was all right, but that she needed some oxygen. At around 7:00 or 7:30, Lothringer told Rose that Barbara was resting quietly, and that she should go home and get some rest. The New York Times says that Lothringer told Rose that he was going to hospitalize Barbara for a minor complication. Both sources indicated that Lothringer instructed Rose to return that afternoon to get her daughter.

Where is Barbara?

Rose called her husband, asking him to drive to Grand Central Station to meet her. Lothringer drove Rose to the nearest subway station so she could go to meet her Dominick. 

Dominick asked Rose, "How's Barbara?"

"I didn't see her," Rose replied.

"What! You didn't see her?"

The two of them drove over to Lothringer's home and repeatedly rang the bell. The only response they got was a barking dog. They tried to peer in through the windows, but the Venetian blinds were drawn. 

They went to a nearby diner, where Dominic used a pay phone to call Lothringer every half hour. They got no answer.

Involving the Police

The next morning, Monday, they returned to Lothringer's home, where they found several patients waiting outside. No one had seen Lothringer. Mr. Lofrumento waited for several hours, then went home, and contacted an attorney. He advised them to contact the police to report Barbara missing. The couple went to the office of Queens District Attorney Frank O'Connor the following day and made the report.

They withheld crucial information, though. They only told the police that Barbara had told them that she was pregnant, then had abruptly left the house saying, "I know what to do." They said that they had found Lothringer's name in Barbara's room and had gone to his home on Sunday only to find nobody there.

Officers went to Lothringer's house and rang the bell, knocked on the door, and explored the yard and tried to peer inside. Like Barbara's parents, the only response they got was from a barking dog. Because Barbara's parents hadn't given them sufficient cause for a warrant, they were unable to pursue a search of the home.

Into the Sewer

On Tuesday, Lothringer called Patrolman George Harshak of the Elmhurst station from an unknown location. Harshak was both a patient and a friend. Lothringer told him that he was away on business and had arranged to have Roto-Rooter see about his stopped-up toilet. He needed for Harshak to get spare keys from his parents and let the workmen into the house.

Investigating the main house drain, the worker found the source of the problem -- pieces of bone and flesh, including identifiable human fingers. 

Harshak, who had been monitoring the work, called a detective. An investigator took the tissue to be examined.
 Soon the authorities had workers digging up the sewer lines from Lothringer's house. They troweled sewer waste into screen frames, rinsing away the filth to see what of value they could find. They found pieces of Barbara, her clothing, and her baby. 

Assistant Medical Examiner Richard E. Grimes said that this was the first time he had ever encountered a body cut into such small pieces. Barbara and her unborn baby had essentially been cut into two-inch cubes, likely with a small electric saw. Lothringer had flushed the remains down the toilet.

The medical examiner estimated that it would have taken upwards of 24 hours to cut up the body into such small fragments. Lothringer was probably working on this grisly task even as Barbara's frantic parents were at his door.

The Daily News noted, "Lothringer may even have watched the cleaning job from a discreet distance, ready to stage a reappearance and brazen out the disappearance of Barbara if the remains had been flushed away without discovery of the crime."

Positively Identified

Police went to the Lofrumentos with the news that the search for body parts in Lothringer's sewer pipes had most likely uncovered their daughter. That's when Dominick broke down and told police the entire story.

The teeth, recovered in seven chunks of remains, were sent to Barbara's dentist and positively identified.

Barbara's father also identified fragments of Barbara's coat, slip, and skirt, including blue-checked fabric fragments as matching the clothing Barbara had been wearing when she left home for the abortion appointment.

Where is Lothringer?
Theresa "Terry" Carillo
Lothringer had vanished, along with Cuban-born former stewardess Theresa "Terry" Carillo, and his Dalmatian. The last people to report encountering him were his parents, Helen and Dr. David Lothringer. They said that on Monday night he had opened their door, let his Dalmatian in, and left without even looking inside.  

An international manhunt was launched. US authorities contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police because the Lothringer family owned a hunting lodge near Montreal, and contacted Mexican authorities because Lothringer had a sister living there.

They sought him in Cuba, Terri's homeland, after an anonymous phone call saying, "If you want to find them, look in Camaguey, Cuba." Another false lead came from a Fort Worth dry cleaner who thought the couple had come to drop off a pair of trousers.

They also learned that Lothringer had contacted his answering service the day of Barbara's death, saying that he was going on vacation and that any patients who called should be advised to find another doctor.

The police had been caught off-guard by Barbara's death and Lofrumento's flight. They had been surveilling him for three weeks to build a case against him for running an abortion ring and had been preparing to charge him on two abortion counts. Queens District Attorney Frank D. O'Connor said, "Because of the present confusion over the legality of wire-taps, we did not wiretap the house. If we had used wiretaps, this poor girl would have been alive today."

Differences of Opinion

Conflicting pictures arose of Lothringer during the manhunt. His 24-year-old ex-wife, Felice, had left with their two children in 1957 in a split the Daily News characterized as "stormy." She eventually divorced him. Felice described him as a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, "a wonderful doctor but a poor husband." Neighbors reported that he had been a skirt-chaser even before Felice and the children had left. Other neighbors, however, described him as a fine man.

His estranged wife said that he had an annual income of $85,000. He owned over 100 suits, a Lincoln, a Cadillac, and a station wagon. However, he reportedly would tend to his patients clad in dungarees, sweat shirt, and sneakers.

His parents, Helen and Dr. David Lothringer, refused to talk to the press about him. All his brother, Kenneth, would say was that he and Harvey were distant and that he hadn't seen him for a few months.

As police investigated it became clear that Terry Carillo was more than Lothringer's receptionist. Eventually Terri Carillo would claim to be Lothringer's wife. She had been living in his house for about a year, and a search found a Valentine card addressed to Teresa and signed by Lothringer: "You're the only real love of my life." 

Lothringer was well-to-do, with reports circulating that he kept as much as a million dollars cash in safe deposit boxes. He also reportedly had begun stashing money, allegedly from abortions, in a 2-foot-square safe in his bedroom closet, in order to hide the assets from his estranged wife.

The Manhunt Ends

Eventually, on September 10 of 1962, Lothringer and Carillo were located in the tiny  Pyrenees mountain state of Andorra, population 6,439. The police had tracked him from a postcard he'd mailed to a friend under a false name. The two were living as Mr. and Mrs. Victor Rey. They also stood out like a pair of sore thumbs.

A French official said, "If criminals want to hide out in Europe they had better pic a bigger place."

Andorra had no extradition treaty with the United States. Even identified, Lothringer and Carillo would have been safe had they stayed put. They were caught when they crossed the border into France to look for new lodgings when their lease was about to expire. French police arrested Lothringer in the border town of Pas de la Case and brought him to Perpignan.

Standing By Her Man

Terry recounted the pair's flight. She told The Daily News "I am not just Dr. Lothringer's receptionist or secretary but his wife. We were married in April, 1961, but I am still using a Cuban passport in my maiden name because it takes three years to qualify for an American passport." 

She insisted on Lothringer's innocence. "The truth is we only saw the girl once. Her parents brought her up to my husband asking for an abortion. But since the girl was five months pregnant, my husband refused to operate and told them, 'Do you want me to end up in the electric chair?' He advised the parents to let Barbara have the child in another U. S. city and have the child adopted there."

She said that Barbara's parents had told Lothringer that they knew that he "like all American doctors" "helped" girls, and they threatened to tell the police about prior abortions he had perpetrated unless he performed an abortion on Barbara. 

She said that the reason she and Lothringer had fled after Barbara's disappearance was that he feared that her parents would take revenge on him.

She recounted their journey. "We took a plane from Idlewild, flew to Paris where we spent a few hours and then took a train for Spain. We came to Andorra at the end of June and when my husband was arrested we were just about to leave."

During a hearing Lothringer began to echo his lover, crying out, "I am not guilty of what I am accused of!"

The French prosecutor gave a warning, "We are not concerned here with your protests of innocence. We only want to ascertain if you are the man sought." His identity confirmed, Lothringer was held.

Lothringer Comes Clean

French police contacted the Queens District Attorney's office. Lothringer contacted his attorney, Moses M. Falk. Because Falk was in a trial, District Attorney Philip Chetta got a five-hour head start on an air race to France. 

As Terry paced nervously outside the interview room, Lothringer told Chetta that Theresa hadn't know about the abortion. He said that when he fled, he told her, "Trust me and follow me without asking questions." He denied that he and Theresa were married.

Lothringer told police that Barbara had developed an air embolism about half an hour after he'd started the abortion. Contrary to what Mrs. Lofrumento said, Lothringer said that he had tried to talk the family out of the abortion because of how far advanced Barbara's pregnancy was. He said that he set a high fee of $1,000 (roughly $9,500 in 2022 dollars) in the hopes that Barbara's father would balk. (Barbara's family had reported paying $500 for the abortion.)

Though he'd openly discussed the abortion with police, he refused to say anything about cutting up Barbara's body other than that he'd done it "to avoid involving" his lady love.

Lothringer's Lawyer Changes Everything

It was only after Lothringer's confession that his attorney arrived. He asserted that the police had not caught Lothringer on French soil but had instead kidnapped him in Andorra. He asserted that Lothringer's confession was false. Lothringer, he said, had only confessed because it was the only way to get police to agree to let Terry visit him in his cell. He reportedly feared that she would kill herself if not allowed to see him.

Falk also took umbrage at the cell where his client was held, saying that it was an 800-year-old "dungeon" with hay for a bed. As the Daily News put it, "Efforts got under way to transfer Lothringer to a more stylish cell in the U.S. and Falk put up quite a fight against that." Nevertheless, Lothringer was extradited and returned to the states with Carillo and the police.

Back in the USA

Upon arrival in New York, a manacled Lofrumento was led down the ramp of an Air France plane by members of the Queens District Attorney's office. The Herald Statesman reported, that Lothringer "managed quick, tense smiles for photographers" but "declined any comment, shaking his head negatively to questions."

Lothringer's attorney met him at the airport.

Falk pleaded for Lothringer to be released on $10,000 bail, noting that other doctors charged with abortion manslaughter were released on even lower bail. He also noted that until Barbara's death, Lothringer had an unblemished record. ADA Frank Cacciatore, on the other hand, wanted a high bail. "This defendant ran away and did not notify anyone. He could run away again. This charge of manslaughter resulted from an abortion. Ordinarily, a person who takes another's life is charged with murder. Counsel should thank God for little favors." Lothringer's bail was set at $50,000.

Falk also said he would appeal to the UN Human Rights Commission, once again arguing that Lothringer was "kidnaped" from Andorra, then was lodged in a cell "without heat or ventilation, with food unfit for human consumption, and rats as his only companions."

Terry Carillo refused to testify before the Grand Jury and was charged with contempt of court. She surrendered to police, and after giving a full statement to Assistant District Attorney Bernard Patten, she was granted immunity. She was, however, held on $30,000 bond as a material witness.

Back in Queens, Lothringer was charged with first degree manslaughter, abortion, second degree assault, dissection of a human body, conspiracy to commit abortion, failure to report a death to the Medical Examiner and removing and disturbing the clothing of a corpse. Two abortion charges were related to cases where the young woman survived. Conviction fir the manslaughter charge alone could result in a 20 year prison sentence.

Justice Delayed

Lothringer entered a not-guilty plea. While awaiting trial, he made weekly journeys to Flushing, Long Island, to visit Terry, who was working at an antique shop. Unable to practice medicine, Lothringer reportedly got a job as the manager of a paper plant. He dutifully returned to Queens for court appearances. As the trial went through one delay after another, Barbara's father shouted at Lothringer as he was led out through the corridor, "Why don't you go home and blow your brains out, you murderer?" Lothringer didn't respond.

However, in after jury selection and a dozen postponements, he surprised everybody by pleading guilty to second degree manslaughter in May of 1964. With the guilty plea he faced a maximum sentence of 15 years. Had he been found guilty of first-degree manslaughter, he would have faced a possible 20 year sentence.

Lothringer, in spite of the flight risk, was still free on $50,000 bail (nearly half a million in 2022 dollars).

After Lothringer's plea, Dominick Lofrumento told reporters, "Justice has been served. The district attorney's office has done a wonderful investigating job. All we can say is thanks." He then put his arm around the weeping, black-clad Rose and added, "Instead of going to a graduation, we had to go to this." 

Barbara would have graduated from New Rochelle College that month.

A Shocking Outcome

It wasn't until July 22 that Lothringer was finally sentenced: 2 to 8 years in Sing Sing. Upon hearing the sentence, Barbara's mother screamed, "Oh, my God!" and fainted. After she was revived by court attendants, she sobbed, "A crime so vicious! How can he get off with so low a sentence? And he has been impeding justice the past two years."

Dominick Lofrumento
Dominick said, "I expected him to get the full 15 years. This was discount justice. Why, the district attorney's office told me that under the original 15-count indictment this man could have got 99 years. He got 90% off!"

Lothringer's attorney, however, was pleased. He had requested leniency, saying that Lothringer had lost his medical license and was seeking to rehabilitate himself. The judge said that he had gotten letters from patient urging mercy. One of those letters -- written anonymously -- was in praise of Lothringer for performing an abortion.

Justice Farrell justified the sentence by saying that even if Lothringer was released after serving even two thirds of the 2-year minimum sentence, 16 months, he would still be under parole and thus supervised for the full 8 years.


After the discovery of Barbara's remains, Deputy Chief Inspector James E. Knott said that Lothringer had arranged for his sewer pipes to be cleaned out the previous December. Knott refused to draw any conclusions.

And in terms that would be familiar today, Anthony Autorino wrote a letter to the editor published in the June 13, 1962 Daily News: 
Another young girl's life is snuffed out by an illegal abortion. Why are we such hypocrites in this country, allowing abortions to be performed every day by unscrupulous doctors, under scary conditions, charging ridiculous fees, jeopardizing the victim's life when something goes wrong? Why don't we take a lesson from some other countries and save lives by legalizing the practice?
It was evidently lost on Mr. Autorino that Lothringer was a reputable physician right up until he chopped up Barbara and her baby. 

Watch "Cut Into Tiny Pieces" on YouTube.


Friday, June 02, 2023

June 2, 1888: Fourth Known Stop on Dr. Hagenow's Trail of Death

 "The long catalogue of deaths through malpractice in Mrs. Hagenow's lying-in hospital was increased yesterday. The parties implicated in the Anna Doreis case -- Mrs. Hagenow, Dr. Dodel, and Undertaker Dierks -- are the ones concerned in this...." --"More Malpractice," San Francisco Chronicle, August 29, 1888

A Mysterious Death

A death certificate signed by Dr. Xavier Dodel stated that 28-year-old Abbia Richards died on June 2, 1888, at 12 Nineteenth Street, San Francisco.

Dodel gave the cause of death as peritonitis and filed it with undertaker Theodor Dierks. Health Office officials, however, found the whole thing suspicious. The original name on the death certificate, Maria Schmidt, had been crossed out and Abbia's name added. Health Officer Barger and Coroner Stanton visited Dierks, who at first refused to discuss the matter but who finally said that at about 10 p.m. on June 2, a man identifying himself as Mr. Richards had come to the undertaking establishment, saying that he needed to arrange a burial for his wife, who had died at Hagenow's hospital several hours earlier. He said that her maiden name was Maria Schmidt, and that he and his wife had moved to Stockton Street from Port Costa about three weeks earlier.

Dierks and his bookkeeper, Charles Mueller, promptly brought the body back to their establishment. Although several men had gathered at the funeral establishment on June 4, the day of the burial, only one man attended the funeral.

Barger double-checked the address on the death certificate and found out that there hadn't been a death at 12 Nineteenth Street. The death had occurred at 19 Twelfth Street -- a maternity hospital operated by Dr. Lucy Hagenow. This was the same location as the death of Anna Doreis case a year earlier.

A headshot of a plump white woman just past middle age, with piercing eyes, a sharp nose, and tiny pursed lips. She wears a dark hat, sailor collar, and wire-rimmed glasses
Dr. Lucy "Louise" Hagenow
During the inquest, Hagenow and Dodel were brought from the city prison, where they were being held for the June 26, 1887 death of Anna Dories, to the morgue. Hagenow admitted that Abbia had died at her practice but denied having perpetrated an abortion. She insisted that Abbia had already attempted a self-induced abortion and she was just taking care of her because she didn't have the heart to send her away.

Dodel admitted that he had signed the death certificate, but made vague references to two other doctors that he refused to name as having had some involvement somehow.

Abbia's body was exhumed for autopsy. As the investigation went on, a creepy and conflicting picture emerged.

Abbia's Dubious Guardian

Napa Insane Asylum
A man named William E. Moorcroft, identified as "the guardian of the deceased Abbie Richards," told the coroner that his ward had been only 19 years of age, not 28. Moorcroft was living with Abbia and her mother; sources conflict as to whether Abbia's mother and Moorcroft ever married. Abbia's mother, according to the San Francisco Examiner, "was addicted to drinking, and, the neighbor's [sic] say, was neglected and ill-treated by Moorcroft. The neighbors also said that he guarded little Abbia with a jealous eye and paid more attention to her than was proper. The mother was finally sent to the Insane Asylum at Napa, where she now is, and Moorcroft was appointed as Abbia's guardian."

According to Moorcroft's testimony, his ward had become sick in Port Costa and gone to San Francisco, where her guardian had "supported her as well as he was able to." However, suspicions had been raised that Moorcroft had been "criminally intimate with her and responsible for her condition when placed in the hands of Mrs. Hagenow."

Moorcroft testified that he got a telegram from Abbia on May 29, telling him that she was at Hagenow's maternity hospital and that she wanted him to come to her right away. He said that when he arrived at Hagenow's establishment and asked for Abbia Richard, the French cook asked him if he was Mr. Moorcroft. When he said he was, he was permitted to come in. 

Moorcroft said in his testimony that Hagenow had scolded him soundly for arranging for two outside doctors to come to her hospital to consult on Abbia's care. "What do you want to bring doctors in my house for?" Hagenow reportedly told him. "I have gray-haired practitioners and you go after boys. You let me alone; the girl is all right."

He testified that he returned to Port Costa and that the next news he got was a message that Abbia was dead. He said that he went back to Hagenow's and was told that the body was a Diercks' undertaking establishment. He said that he wasn't permitted to see the body. He said that he had protested when Diercks said that Abbia would be buried under the name of Maria Schmidt.

Moorcroft testified that Dr. Dodel was at the undertaking establishment and demanded $50 before he would sign the death certificate. Moorcroft said that he paid Dodel $25.

Detective Rogers went to Port Costa to learn more about the circumstances surrounding Abbia's death. "The people at Port Costa... were not satisfied with the verdict of the Coroner's jury, and thought that if an investigation were made it would be found that Moorcraft [sic] caused the girl's death." The detective had several letters stating that Moorcroft admitted that he was the one who had gotten Abbia pregnant, and that he had been the one to send her to Hagenow. However, further investigation into one of the self-incriminating letters Moorcroft had written "only to his use of liquor and dissipation, and his regret for such a life, and promises to do better."

Whether Moorcroft was guilty or not, his connection to the scandal led to him being fired from his job as superintendent of the Nevada Warehouse and Dock Company.

Tillie Boyd's Testimony

Tillie Boyd, who had known Abbie well since childhood, said that Abbia had come to stay for a visit beginning on May 13. Tillie testified that she hadn't known that her friend had even been pregnant. She had, though, gone with Abbia to the office Dr. O'Donnell for rheumatism and headaches. Abbia had met privately with the doctor and had come away with six powders and an instruction to take one each morning. Tillie said that the powders "did [Abbia's] head good."

Afterward, Abbie went to Port Costa, to her guardian's home. She came back to San Francisco five days later. On May 29, Abbia told her friend she was going to a lady doctor's house. 

On June 2, Tillie said, Moorcroft came to Tillie's house, told her that Abbia was very ill, and wanted her to accompany him to Hagenow's hospital. Tillie testified that she didn't go with Moorcroft because she wasn't familiar with Hagenow's practice. This seems like a very odd reason to not accompany your sick friend's guardian to visit her.

"The next thing I heard was that she was dead," Tillie testified. "I had no idea what as the matter with her. To the best of my knowledge Mr. Moorcroft always treated Abbie well."

Two Physicians' Testimony

Dr. George M. Terrill "stated that he was visited one night by a man whom he now knows to be Moorcroft, who desired him to go to Mrs. Hagenow's hospital and see a girl who was very sick." Moorcroft wanted two doctors to examine the girl, so Dr. John Morse was called in to assist. Moorcroft rode on the carriage box on the way to Hagenow's hospital.

Morse and Terrill saw Dodel there, with Abbia "in a dying condition." They advised Hagenow to give her stimulants, but didn't examine her. One or both of them reported that Dodel told them that Abbia was dying "of malpractice," meaning a criminal abortion.

The Social Worker's Testimony

Special Officer Holbrook of the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Children testified that on several occasions they'd had cause to investigate Moorcroft's treatment of his ward. In 1887, Abbia had come to him saying that "her guardian was going to Port Costa and wanted her to go with him as his mistress. The society took care of her for a while, but she soon disappeared," and the next Holbrook heard, Abbie was living with Moorcroft again.

The Board of Health

Secretary Williams of the Board of Health testified that he issued a burial permit upon a death certificate for 28-year-old Maria Schmidt, signed by Dr. Xavier Dodel. Several days later a worker from the Dierks undertaking business came to the office, stating that the dead woman's name was actually Abbie Richards. The board issued the corrected burial permit, but Williams' attention was struck by Dodel's name on a certificate for a death at Hagenow's address, since those were the same signatory and address involved in the Annie Doreis death earlier in the year.

The Undertaker

The inquest also looked into the relationship between Hagenow and Dierks. The San Francisco Chronicle noted that Diercks "has been favored with all the 'quiet' funerals from [Hagenow's] establishment." He perspired profusely on the stand, frequently mopping his face with his handkerchief. "He didn't like the questions of Coroner Stanton, and glared at him at times as though he wished he might bury him with or without a permit."

"Diercks went on the stand to clear himself of the strongly settled conviction that he has been an accomplice in the Hagenow crimes, but only succeeded in further criminating himself. He was confused and contradictory and in his eagerness to show the jury that he had done nothing wrong in the premises, he only tangled himself further in the skein of evidence showing that everyone connected with the deaths of young girls at the Hagenow Hospital and the disposal of their bodies was guilty of a crime."

Diercks said that a man named Frank Corde, who had accompanied "Mr. Richards" to the funeral home agreed to pay the $100 in funeral expenses. The man identifying himself as "Mr. Richards" turned out to be Moorcroft. 

Diercks also said that Abbia was the first dead patient he'd removed from Hagenow's establishment and that there had been two subsequent cases.

One of the outcomes of the investigation into Abbia's death was that Theodor Diercks was arrested and charged with falsifying records. He faced a potential sentence of a fine of $1,000 and an imprisonment of 1,000 days.

Who Was Frank Corde?

Frank Corde, who had accompanied Moorcroft to the undertaker's establishment, was a cashier at Waterman & Co. He testified after Diercks and contradicted much of what the undertaker said. He said that Moorcroft did not identify himself a Mr. Richards. He said that he had objected to the dead woman being buried as Maria Schmidt and said he wanted her buried under her real name. 

He testified that Moorcroft said that Abbia had $60 in cash, a gold watcha nd chain, and several rings. Corde went to Hagenow's hospital to ask for them, and said that Hagenow told him that she knew nothing of those possessions. 

Corde further testified that Diercks came to him on the morning of the funeral to say that Dodel wasn't going to sign the death certificate unless he was paid $50. Corde said he told Diercks no, and advised Moorcroft not to pay it either. 

Uncertain at Autopsy

Two physicians, Dr. Blach and Dr. Carpenter, said that when they performed the autopsy they were able to identify several puncture wounds. News coverage conveys different conclusions as to what they found. One article says that by the time Abbia's body was examined, it was too far decomposed to determine if abortion had been the cause of death. This might explain why Hagenow was never convicted. However, another article states that "she died from malpractice."

More San Francisco Deaths

Hagenow had already been implicated in the August 21, 1887 San Francisco abortion death of Louise Derchow, as well as for the suspicious death of Emma Dep at Hagenow's maternity home.

Hagenow insisted that she did not perpetrate abortions but only provided aftercare to young women who had already injured themselves. "What am I to do when they are brought to me in a dying condition? Shall I turn them out to die? That would make me inhuman."

A More Welcoming Home

Hagenow eventually relocated to Chicago, an area much more congenial to abortionists, and began piling up dead bodies there as well. She was implicated in numerous abortion deaths, including:

The End of the Road

Though Hagenow was sentenced to prison for the death of Mary Moorehead, when she appealed the Supreme Court of Illinois ordered a new trial in 1929. The judge, noting that there was no new evidence, dismissed the case, telling Hagenow, "You had better make your peace with God, Lucy Hagenow. I do not think your months on earth are many."

Hagenow, the Associated Press noted, was nearly deaf and "may not have heard. She muttered something, and shambled laboriously from the room."

As near as I can determine, Hagenow died September 26, 1933, in Norwood Park, Cook County, Illinois. Her occupation on her death record was given as "midwife."