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Sioux Valley News
South Dakota, USA
20 September 1888

LEATHER APRON
A Murder Mystery Which Transcends Anything Known in the Annals of the Horrible
White Chapel has a murder mystery which transcends anything known in the annals of the horrible. It is Poe's "Murder of the Rue Morgue" and "The Mystery of Marie Roget" rolled into one real story. It is nothing less than a midnight murderer, whose step is noiseless, whose strike is deadly and whose cunning is so great that he leaves no trace whatever of his work and no clew to his identity. He has just slaughtered his third victim and all the women in White Chapel are terrified, while the stupidest detectives in the civilized world stand aghast and say they have no clew. When the murder of Mary Ann Nichols, who was cut into ribbons last Friday night, was investigated, it became evident that the murder was the work of the same hand that committed the two preceding ones. All three were moneyless women of the lowest class. All were killed in the street between 1 and 3 o'clock in the morning, and all were mutilated in the same fiendish and peculiar way. The coincidence was as great as to strike even the detectives, and they are now looking for the one man whom they believed to be guilty of all three crimes.

The man is called "Leather Apron," and nobody knows him by any other name. He is a character halfway between Dickens' Quilp and Poe's Baboon. He is short, stunted, and thickset. He has small, wicked black eyes and is half crazy. He is always hanging about the deep shadows that fill the intricate network of the courts, passages and alleyways of White Chapel. He does not walk, but always moves on a sharp or queer run and never makes any noise with his feet. In addition to the three women he is believed to have murdered he has scared a hundred more of them nearly to death. Every street walker in White Chapel has her own story to tell of him. He lives by robbing them late at night, and has kicked, cuffed, or knocked down two score of them in the last two years. His usual lodging place is a fourpenny lodging house in a poverty stricken thieves' alley of Brick lane. He has left there now, however, and nobody knows where he is. He is suspected of having done the three murders from the fact that he has frequently drawn a knife on women, accompanied by the same threats which have been carried out on the dead women. The story of Mrs. Colwall, who heard the screams of the woman as she was being murdered, is to the effect that she was clearly running away from somebody who was murdering her, and yet she could hear no other footsteps. The bloodstains on the sidewalk indicated the same thing - that the murderer, whoever he was, was noiseless in his pursuit, and his quality points directly to “Leather Apron." He is a slippermaker by trade and gets his nickname from the fact that he always a leather apron and is never seen without it. One peculiar feature of the case is that none of the police or detectives appear to know him, he having always kept out of their sight and they are now gleaning information concerning him from women he has assailed.


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