Sunday, September 30, 2012

1912 - Murder in the Family

The San Francisco Call
September 30 1912


QUINCY, ILL, Sept. 29 -- Suspicion exists that Mr. and Mrs. Charles Pfanschmidt, their 16 year old daughter Blanch, and Miss Emma Kaempen, 21 years old, a teacher, whose bodies were incinerated early today, were murdered.  The tragedy took place at the Pfanschmidts country home near Payson, 16 miles southeast of Quincy.

Circumstances indicate that the four victims perished while asleep.  Nothing remained of thier bodies except the charred skeletons.  The house was destroyed.

Pfanschmidt was wealthy.  Miss Kaempen was a daughter of a Quincy contractor.

Developments indicate that all four were murdered before the home was destroyed by fire.  While the bodies of the victims are charred almost beyond recognition, the head of Miss Kaempen is well preserved, and at the top of the skull is a wound, evidently made with a club.  She and Mrs. Pfanschmidt were found partly under a mattress, which had to some extent protected the bodies from the flames.  A pillow upon which Miss Kaempen had been lying was not burned.  It is soaked with blood.

The Pfanschmidt girl's face is badly burned, but the back of her head was protected from the flames, and there is a deep wound several inches across.

Indication are that the crime was committed Friday night after the family had retired.  The telephone wires were cut and relatives of Miss Kaempen in Quincy who tried to reach the Pfanschmidt home on Saturday were unable to make a connection.

Apparently the Pfanschmidt's son, Ray, committed the horrific murders in order to get his hands on his inheritance. Read more about the murders at People v. Pfanschmidt and here.

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