Friday, September 27, 2013

1913 - Christian Science Healer Beaten to Death for Revenge


Christian Science Healer Beaten to Death for Revenge

Police Seek Divorced Husband of Mrs. Rebecca P. Gay
Killed in Los Angeles Office
Victim's Valuables Are Untouched by Brutal Slayer

Mrs. Rebecca P. Gay, a prominent Christian Science practitioner, was found murdered in her office on the fifth floor of the H.W. Hellman building early today. A clew (sic) has been obtained to the identity of the murderer, the detectives say, and they are now running it down. Mrs. Gay is believed to have been slain late yesterday afternoon.  Her body was found this morning when her office was opened. Vengeance and not robbery, the detectives say, was the motive for the crime. The woman was beaten to death with a piece of gas pipe wrapped in yellow manila paper.  The pipe was found in the room beside her body.  Blood spots on the walls and beneath the windows indicate, the detectives say, that an effort was made to throw her body out of the window.

Mrs. Gay, the officers say, had been separated from her husband for several years. The officers are seeking the husband to see if he can throw any light on the murder. Mrs. Gay lived at 1010 West Third Street. She had occupied the office where she was slain about nine years. The detectives say that the man who killed her entered the building between 4 and 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon, carrying what appeared to be a roll of sheet music in his hand.  This roll, the officers say, was the gas pipe.

The murderer entered the woman's office, closed the door behind him, entered a second room--her private office --and closed that door.  Mrs. Gay was seated on the east side of her private office.  No other chair was near her.  There is no indication that any person had engaged in conversation with her while seated in a chair, as the other two chairs in the room had papers and books piled upon them.  Mrs. Gay was struck on the left side of the head and her skull shattered.

So furious was the attack upon her that there was not a square foot on the floor, the ceiling or the walls that did not show evidence of the terrific assault.  The body was dragged from the chair where she was slain and carried toward a window, a distance of about seven feet.  There it was dropped to the floor.  The slayer seized a towel and partly removed the stains from his hands.  Then he went to a wash stand, where he left a tiny touch of blood.  On the door leading to the wash stand is the imprint of his hand.  four fingers and part of the thumb are visible, but because of the dark color of the wood the print can only be seen when the light comes from a certain direction.

No alarm was felt at Mrs. Gay's home last night when she did not return at her accustomed hours.  A woman who for years has assisted Mrs Gay in dressing waited for her at home until 11 o'clock.  Then believing that Mrs. Gay had gone to the home of a friend to spend the night, she retired.  Other persons living at the apartments at 1010 West Third street reported to the police that the telephone in Mrs Gay's apartment rang frequently all through the night.  The police believe that Mrs. Gay was planning to give a little dinner to some friends in her apartments.  In Mrs. Gay's office, on a table near the chair where the woman was slain, was found a paper sack containing a dressed chicken, cut ready to fry.

On the outside of her office door was found an envelope upon which was written in ink, "Office closed Saturday; Mrs. Gay will be in office on Monday."  This was apparently written in Mrs. Gay's own hand.  it was believed to have been fastened to the door by her slayer.   Mrs. Gay apparently carried on a voluminous correspondence.  A hundred or more letters were found in her office, and these were taken by the police to be read.  The detectives believe that the slayer may have written her, if there was any dispute between them. Mrs. Gay's engagement book which records the name of each person who called upon her by appointment, is being examined in the hope that the man who killed her may have notified her that he was coming, supposedly for a treatment.  If the name of the slayer is in this book the slayer made no attempt to remove it, for the book is not blood-stained, although nearly every letter and piece of paper in the woman's desk is spotted.  On none of the papers, however, is there anything that resembles a finger print.

The piece of gas pipe and its covering of paper are badly stained.  On the end where the slayer held it in his hand is a large print of his thumb, but it is blurred by his thumb moving.  The detectives fear it will be valueless. The hand print on the door leading to the washstand is clear in three places.  The first an descend fingers appear to have had "whorls" meaning that the lines in the skin move from a central point.  One other finger appears to have an arch, the lines rising toward the tip of the finger in a sharp curve and not originating from a central point.  The spot on the washstand is so small that the detectives do not believe it is of any value except to show that the slayer washed his hands before he departed.

A rubber sponge, sometimes called a "complexion sponge," was partly torn and bits of it were scattered about the room, as though the murderer had used the sponge in attempting to wash telltale spots off his clothes.  The detectives declare that no struggle preceded the slaying.  The chair in which Mrs. Gay was seated when she was slain was beside a steam radiator.  To her left, as she sat in her chair, was her desk, open, and with numerous papers scattered about it.

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