Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Criminal Deaths and a Murder-Suicide

A Chicago Nurse or Midwife, 1900

On August 4, 1900, 20-year-old newlywed Mary Borglum died in her home from complications of an abortion performed there that day. The abortion had been agreed upon by both Mary and her husband, James. Mrs. Mary Kempfer was arrested that same day and held without bail by a Coroner's Jury. Kempfer's employment status was listed as nurse or midwife. (See Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database)

A Chicago Physician, 1913

On August 4, 1913, 40-year-old seamstress Anna Turnovan, a Hungarian immigrant, died in Chicago at the scene of an abortion perpetrated that day by Dr. Frank L. Meuller. Mueller was arrested and held by the Coroner, as was Sima Mallasch. The case never went to trial. (See Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database)

A Habitual Offender in Wichita, 1924

Lorean Franklin, a 19-year-old Southwestern Bell Telephone employee, of Buffalo, Missouri, on August 4, 1924 in Wichita, Kansas. An inquest was held to verify if Dr. Charles C. Keester had perpetrated a fatal abortion on her. Lorean died in Keester's hospital. Authorities believed that he had performed the abortion on August 1. Lorean's sister, Addie Furlington, swore a complain against Franklin in the death. The autopsy found that Lorean had died of peritonitis. Keester asserted that he had operated on Lorean for gallstones.

Two young men who were not identified in the source were "alleged to have admitted their connection with the affair and to have made arrangements with the doctor for the operation."

Keester had already been implicated in the abortion deaths of Hattie Myers, age 19, March 7, 1922; and Hazel Hadicke, age 19, December 16, 1923. The same month that Loren died, Keester was implicated in the abortion death of "Bonnie," age 18. The Newton Journal noted, "Dr. Keester has an infamous reputation in Wichita and evidently has been pulling iniquity with a cart rope. It is alleged that the officers were ready on numerous occasions to close in on questionable cases but the relatives involved would back out, avoiding publicity and scandal."

Keester was charged originally charged with first degree murder but ultimately convicted of manslaughter in Lorean's death. He was freed on bail pending the new trial. I have been unable to determine the outcome of the case, but he would go on to be convicted in the February 28, 1930 abortion death of Rena Armstrong, age 17. Either Keester won his appeal or served a very short sentence in Lorean's death. (New sources below.)

A Chicago Midwife, 1942 

On August 4, 1942, 18-year-old Eva Moyer died after an abortion perpetrated by Chicago midwife Katheryn Eickenberg, age 58. Her body had been discovered in the attic of the attic of Eickenberg's home. A taxi driver testified that he had taken Eva to Eickenberg's house three times in the week prior to her death. She was accompanied by James Tivey, a sailor, that the taxi driver said accompanied Eva on those trips to the midwife. Tivey testified that he had paid Eickenberg $50 for the abortion. Eickenberg was convicted or murder by abortion and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Eva hailed from South Langhor, Pennsylvania. I have been unable to determine why she was in Chicago. (Newly added sources below.)

Murder-Suicide in Florida, 2006 

A passport-photo style picture of a smiling young white woman with her light-brown hair pulled back from her face
Laura Grunas
On August 4, 2006, 30-year-old Laura Grunas, a police officer in Plantation, Florida, shot her boyfriend, 31-year-old firefighter Robert Peat, dead inside his home. Grunas then turned the gun on herself. The couple had been together for about a year. Neighbors reported that Laura was hysterical the last day of her life, standing outside Peat's garage yelling, "Why is everyone blaming this on me? He killed my baby." The argument became so loud that neighbors called the police.

In what those close to the pair believed to have been a mutual decision, Laura had aborted the couple's baby a few weeks earlier. Michael Roth, a friend of Peat, told police that Peat had been "enormously upset" about the abortion. "He was a lot more religious than me and didn't believe in that, but they had felt that that was the right thing to do for whatever reasons."

Peat had called Roth and asked him to come over shortly before the shooting. Roth said that when he arrived, Grunas became upset, saying, "If, when he felt the need to call, did he tell you about killing my baby?"

Peat also called the police, and when two officers arrived, Grunas, a colleague of theirs, became furious. They asked her to leave, and she complied. Peat asked Roth to remain with him, and Roth recommended that Peat get a restraining order. "Thirty seconds after I tried to make that suggestion, his phone started ringing. .... And then she started banging on the front door."

Laura then used a Smith & Wesson 9mm, her work-issued handgun, to shoot out the sliding glass door to the kitchen. Roth, who suffered minor injuries in the incident, fled the kitchen through the shot-out door and called 911.

Suicide after an abortion isn't as rare as the abortion lobby tries to indicate. In fact, one of the deaths the Centers for Disease Control listed in their 1971 Abortion Surveillance Summary was of a young woman I call "Sandra" who expressed remorse and killed herself after her abortion. Sandra's death was particularly needless because a review of her records at the clinic showed that she hadn't actually been pregnant, but nobody at the clinic had thought to contact Sandra and tell her that. 

If I had the Cemetery of Choice back up and running, I'd provide links to other post-abortion suicides. That will be coming in the future.


Lorean Franklin Sources:
Eva Moyer Sources:

No comments: