Saturday, January 28, 2023

January 28, 1943: Doctor Borrows Name, Kills Patient

Dr. Henry Gross, age 56, had a reputable medical practice at 843 Belmont Avenue in Chicago in the 1940s. However, after a Dr. Ira Willits died, Gross purchased the dead man's office and set up an abortion practice there under Willits's name.

According to Olga Perez, in January of 1943, her daughter-in-law 22-year-old Lavern Perez went to "Dr. Willits" at 530 North Clark Street for an abortion. Mrs. Perez said that Lavern had paid an office attendant $60 for the abortion. 

Lavern died in her Chicago home on January 28.

The day Lavern died, Mrs. Perez said, Dr. Gross appeared at her home with a gun, which he used to threaten both her and her son. They wrestled the gun away from him, whereupon he begged for the weapon back so he could kill himself. 

Gross had insisted that he'd only been treating Lavern for a cold. However, he was also investigated for the February 26, 1943 abortion death of 20-year-old waitress Dorothy Webber.

A jury of eight women and four men found Gross guilty of manslaughter by abortion in Lavern's death. He won a new trial on the grounds that the state used prejudicial evidence. 

The trail ends there. I've been unable to find out the outcome of the second trial, and Gross doesn't show up again on census records or, as far as I can find, death records.

Watch Abortionist and Dead Women Vanish on YouTube.


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