Thursday, January 21, 2021

January 21: A Mystery Solved and Two Other Cases

An Indictment But No Follow-Through

On January 21 of 1926, 38-year-old homemaker Victoria Smith died in Chicago from a botched abortion. The Homicide in Chicago Interactive Database indicates that the abortion was performed at Jefferson Park Hospital, but the database often erroneously lists the hospital where the woman died as the location of the abortion. On January 26, the coroner pushed for the arrest of Peter Krakowski as the principal and Mary Sprochi as an accessory. Krakowski's profession is not given. On February 15, Krakowski was indicted for felony murder. 

Two Physicians Implicated

On January 21, 1919, 26-year-old homemaker Wanda Skrzypzak died at Chicago's St. Elizabeth's Hospital from an abortion believed to have been perpetrated by Dr. Michael Rozumski and Dr. John P. Wojtaleiwicz. The doctors were held by the Coroner for intentional manslaughter by abortion on January 22, and were indicted on February 15, but the case never went to trial. There were allegations of police corruption associated with the case.

A Surprising Lead on an Old Case

Chicago law enforcement officials originally didn't know who was responsible for the January 21, 1899 death of 28-year-old homemaker Caroline Schroeder. They got their answer in August of 1901 when Caroline's sister-in-law, Annie Robinson, named midwife Teresa Muenster of North Clark Street not only as the abortionist responsible for her own impending death, but as responsible for Caroline's death as well.  Muenster was born around 1841 in Holsten Schleswig, which would have made her nearly 60 years old at the time of the women's deaths. She had been practicing in Chicago for about thirty years.

Caroline Schroeder sources:

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