14 December 1893
The Terribly Mutilated Body of a Young Woman in the River
SOME FIEND'S VICTIM
Yesterday morning evidences of what is doubtless a brutal murder came to light in the East River slip between piers 46 and 47, which are situated near the foot of Jefferson street.
The slip is used as a leading place for lighters and yesterday the space between the piers was pretty well checked with them. Two employees of the New York, New Haven & Hartfort Railway Company, which uses pier 46 as a freight depot, were the first to see the body of a woman floating face downward in the clear water between the lighters and the New Haven dock.
The body was that of a young and stoutly built woman apparently under thirty years of age. In life she might have been comely, but this is mere surmise, for some fiendish hand had cut and gashed the features in such a merciless fashion as to render their symmetry a mockery.
There was every indication that this woman had only yielded life after a fearful struggle, and how and where she encountered her assassin are questions to which no answer is as yet forthcoming. The face, throat and scalp were cut in five places and coagulated blood filled the wounds.
The largest wound was in the forehead, running from the hair in the right temple across to the outer side of the left eyebrow. There was terrible gash in the throat to the right of and a little blow the chin, looking as if the murderer had turned his knife around before withdrawing it. There were also two cuts in the throat under the left ear. The scalp had been laid open from the top of the right ear to the median line of the skull. There was a terrible bruise on the left breast. The fleshy lobe of the left ear, which had borne a cheap gold plated earring, was torn away.
In the lower part of the abdomen there was a wound which suggested the handiwork of Jack the Ripper.
The coarse black hair was knotted and twisted into ropes as if the murderer had held his victim by it while he cut and slashed with his knife.
The body was only partially robed.
It lay in the street covered by a few empty sacks for four hours before the city hearse arrived to remove it. During all this time the brisk west wind played havoc with the rude shroud, blowing its edges this way and that, affording horrible entertainment to the curious crowd.
Morgue keeper White made a careful superficial examination of the remains. He found three teeth missing in the left upper jaw, but the rest were in a good state of preservation. He declared that the cuts were doubtless made by a knife - probably a sailor's jack knife - wielded by a man maddened by liquor. The coroner's physician did not, of course, turn up to perform the official autopsy.
The girl could not have been much more than 25 years of age. Appearances go to show that she was probably an habitué of the tough Water street dives much affected by sailors off for a spree. She might have been tolerably good looking.
The theory of the police regarding the murder is that the woman was lured aboard a craft along the river front or went thither willingly with some of the tough characters which infest the locality. It is supposed that the "growler" (?) was worked freely until all hands became intoxicated and that then in the drunken row which ensued the woman received the injuries which caused her death.