Monday, August 24, 2020

August 24: Short Shrift to a Possible Hagenow Victim, and the Mystery Death of an Heiress

The End of Hagenow's San Francisco Reign

On August 24, 1888, Mrs. Emma Dep, who had recently been discharged from a maternity home run by known abortionist Dr. Louisa Hagenow, died at 537 Second Street in San Francisco. The San Francisco Bulletin indicated that a Dr.  Erenberg signed the death certificate attributing the death to peritonitis from a self-induced abortion.

I find it a bit odd that there was no evidence of a real investigation of the death. There is simply no explanation that makes any sense other than that Emma had gone to known Hagenow, had an abortion at the maternity home, thought she was recovering, went home, and died. Considering that there had recently been three Hagenow patients dying from botched abortions -- 
Louise DerchowAnna Doreis and Abbia Richards --  one would think that they'd dig deeper into the circumstances surrounding Emma's death. Furthermore, a man named Franz Krone had died on August 13 at Hagenow's maternity home, leaving behind jewelry and money that was never accounted for. 

Hagenow promptly relocated to Chicago, began using the name Lucy rather than Louise or Louisa, and began piling up dead bodies there as well. She was implicated in numerous abortion deaths, including 
Minnie DeeringSophia Kuhn , Emily AndersonHannah CarlsonMarie HechtMay PutnamLola MadisonAnnie HorvatichLottie LowyNina H. PierceJean CohenBridget MastersonElizabeth Welter, and Mary Moorehead.

 Rich and Dead in Philadelphia

On August 25, 1955, the body of a young woman identified as Shirley Silver lay in the morgue in Philadelphia, where it had been since being brought there the previous day from the North Philadelphia apartment of bartender Milton Schwarts and his beautician wife, Rosalie. The young woman, they said, had suddenly taken ill and collapsed while sitting on a sofa in their living room. But when machinations began to try to remove the young woman's body without an autopsy, her real identity was revealed, and a scandal rocked the city. 

The dead woman was 
Doris Jean Silver Ostreicher, a 22-year-old heiress. Doris had made front page news when she eloped in a "fairy tale romance" with Earl Ostreicher, a 29-year-old motorcycle cop from Miami Beach, in late June of 1955. Ostreicher was the son of a Chicago fuel dealer. He held that he'd not known that his beautiful red-haired bride was wealthy. She'd told him, he said, that her father was a butcher, not vice president of the Food Fair chain of grocery stores. 

But fairy tale romances don't always lead to fairy tale marriages. Within a few weeks, Doris evidently was disillusioned, and had separated from her husband, returning to her family's Philadelphia home. When she learned that her short-lived marriage had left her pregnant, her mother, Gertrude Silver, helped her to arrange an abortion, which was perpetrated with some sort of instrument and a "vegetable compound." Doris collapsed and died. 

When police searched the Schwartz apartment, they found abortion instruments there, including syringes, medications, dry mustard, absorbent cotton, mineral oil, and olive oil, along with a metal tube that was believed to be the fatal instrument in Doris' abortion. The Schwartzes pleaded no contest for their role in the young woman's death. Rosalie got a sentence of indeterminate length, while Milton was sentenced to 3-10 years. Both were paroled after 11 months, based on a "pathetic" letter from their gown son asking that his parents be freed in time for Christmas. 

Doris' mother, who was hospitalized for "bereavement shock" in the early days after her daughter's death, was charged as an accessory. She was fined and given a suspended sentence for her role in her daughter's death. The judge said that he considered the memory of how her daughter had died "substantial punishment."

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