My original research on the November 18, 1942 abortion death of 26-year-old Madeline McGeehan was based on New York Times articles.
Recently I started doing one of my periodic prowls through Find-a-Grave, looking for leads to additional information about the Cemetery of Choice women and I found a memorial for Madlyon McGeehan.
At first I did bad math and calculated the Luzurne County Madlyon as being 36 years old, became bewildered, and decided to do a little more investigating. It seemed unlikely that two women with different spellings of the same name both died in the Bronx on the same day. How could I reconcile a 10-year age difference?
Well, thank God for bad math, because otherwise I'd not have gone delving for more, and I'd not have learned more about Madlyon's life and tragic death.
This AP story published in a Texas paper on November 27, 1942, reveals that 58-year-old Dr. Joseph Nisonoff, the abortionist, was held on $150,000 bail on a charge of homicide in connection with Madlyon's peritonitis death. Nisonoff's nurse, Camille Ewald, was held on $50,000 bail, and the "friend," Henry Elters, was held on $15,000 as a material witness.
Elters reportedly told Assistant District Attorney James Carney that he had known Madlyon
for about seven years, and that they had gone to Nisonoff's office in Queens on an unspecified date, and gave Ewald $600. She told Elters to "take a walk." He returned to find Madlyon resting on a couch. On November 15, Elters was told that Madlyon needed a blood transfusion. She was admitted to Prospect Hospital as Betty McGee. After her death there, she was correctly identified by her sister, Mary, who had come came from the family home at Hazleton, PA, to claim Madlyon's body.
During six hours of questioning, Nisonoff himself denied any connection with Madlyon's death.
Madlyon was an OPA employee who had been living in Washington DC.