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 Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide 
This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.

Emil Totterman

In December 1903 Emil Totterman, a Finnish sailor, was arrested at the Sailors Union boarding house at 37 South Street, and charged with the murder of prostitute Sarah Martin. The murder occurred at Kelly's Hotel in Walker Street, New York, a stones throw from where an elderly prostitute named Carrie Brown had been murdered thirteen years earlier. Sarah Martin's body had been mutilated, the injuries comprising of two deep wounds to her throat, a gash three inches deep extending from armpit to armpit, a large vertical wound in her abdomen and minor mutilations targeting the genitalia. This led to the inevitable speculation that Totterman, who also used the alias Carl Nielsen, was Jack the Ripper.

The headline of the New York Times 22, December 1903 proclaimed, Police Say They Have Ripper Murderer.

Totterman was spared the death sentence, on account of his heroic efforts during the Spanish American War, where he received three medals for bravery and was considered a war hero. Sentenced instead to life imprisonment, he escaped from Sing Sing prison 20 August 1916, and remained on the run for eight months. Recaptured 24 April 1917 he was released 24 December 1929 and returned to Finland. Totterman stated he was 41 years of age, though was believed to have been 35 years old when he was arrested in 1903. This would have made him about 20 years of age at the time of the Whitechapel murders, a little young, according to the witness descriptions.

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Related pages:
  Emil Totterman
       Dissertations: Ripper Redux 
       Press Reports: Bluefield Daily Telegraph - 19 April 1904 
       Press Reports: Fort Wayne Morning Journal - 22 December 1903 
       Press Reports: Marion Daily Star - 21 December 1903 
       Press Reports: Sandusky Star - 21 December 1903