The Murder of Mary Wertheimer's Three Month Old Baby Part I

Killed A Baby: Child Murder in the Eastern District

Detective Sergeant George Campbell of the Sixth precinct, at Bushwick avenue and Stagg street, made three arrests last midnight on suspicion and thereby succeeded in bringing to light as deliberate and cold blooded a case of child murder as ever occurred within the limits of a civilized city. Mary Wertheimer, the mother of the child, is a girl of 17. Peter Schultz, the confessed murderer, is only 18 years old, and Adam Haas, who witnessed the crime and probably assisted in its commission, is 25.

Mary Wertheimer, a wild and incorrigible girl, whose mother lives at 157 Boerum street, has been boarding since May 2, or last Monday, at the home of Adam Haas' parents, 56 Morrell street. Her board was engaged for her by young Schultz, who lives at 100 Bushwick avenue. Yesterday afternoon Detective Campbell learned that when Mary Wertheimer went to the Boerum street house she brought with her a 3 months old baby and that the child was now missing. As young Haas and Schultz were known tot he detective as youthful thieves who had done time, he determined to watch them and finally to arrest them. At midnight, therefore, Detective Sergeants Campbell and Lyons and Policeman Hall went to the house, 56 Morrell street, and arrested Peter Schultz, Adam Haas and Mary Wertheimer, all of whom they found sleeping there. The prisoners were locked up in cells in the Stagg street station. Through the night Mary Wertheimer confessed a willingness to tell what she knew.

"The child was mine," she said. "It was a boy. At 11 o'clock on the night of Tuesday, May 3, I was sitting in the room with Mr. and Mrs. Haas, their daughter Annie, Adam Haas and Peter Schultz. Adam Haas had been telling me that I ought to place the child in a home, and he and Peter Schultz said that night that they could take the child and find a home for it. I allowed them to do so. The next day I asked Schultz about the child and he said: "Don't worry, it's in a safe place.' He promised afterward to bring me to the child, but he never did so."

Next Adam Haas broke down and said he would tell all. "The child is killed." he said. "Schulz and I left the house Tuesday night with the child. Schultz carrying the infant under his arm and under his coat. We walked along the South side railroad track and as the child began to cry, Schultz placed his hand over its mouth. It still cried and he choked it until he thought it was dead. But it was not quite dead, and he tried to drown it in a pool of water made by the high tide near Newtown creek canal. He tried first with a handkerchief and stone to hold the body down and afterward used a suspender, but the stone slipped, and, as the child was dead then, he dug a hole in the ground and buried it."

"We both killed the child," said Schultz this morning in a bit of anger over what Haas had told. "At 11 o'clock Tuesday night," he went on, "I took the child from the house at 56 Morrell street. Adam Haas, who came with me said as we walked along that I could not get it in an institution and that I had better kill it. When we got out to the railroad track where they are building a new bridge I gave the child to Haas and he got it by the throat and pinched his fingers around the neck. I did the same thing from the other side and between us we killed the child. Haas attached a stone to my suspender and placing the other end of the suspender around the child's neck, tried to sink the body in the pond. The stone slipped and then we dug a hole and placed the body in it and covered it up with dirt. Haas said it would be necessary for us to go to the place every day for a while to keep the body covered with fresh dirt. This happened about 2:30 o'clock, on Wednesday, May 3.

The statements of the prisoners were taken today in the form of depositions by Coroner Lindsay, and at 10 o'clock Detectives Campbell and Lyons took Schultz out along the South side railroad track to see if he could point out the spot where the child was buried. Rains and high tides had obliterated the marks of several days ago, but Schultz indicated a spot between the railroad and the canal just beside the city limits, between Grand street and Johnson avenue. The ground was dug up but the body was not found. Near the spot, however, the officers found an old apron, which was subsequently recognized by Mary Wertheimer as a part of the child's wrappings on the night of its disappearance. A further search for the body will be made this afternoon.

Website: The History
Article Name: The Murder of Mary Wertheimer's Three Month Old Baby Part I
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle May 7, 1892
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