Another Trunk Mystery: A Dismembered Body Received in Baltimore (1887)


The New York Times, January 27, 1887

BALTIMORE, Jan. 26.—On Sunday morning a cheap looking trunk arrived here by Adams Express addressed to “John A. Wilson, Baltimore, Md.” The address, which was written in an irregular, foreign hand, stated that the trunk would be called for. Sunday passed and no one called. On Monday the trunk was removed to the downtown central office. On Tuesday no one came to claim it Today there was a very perceptible odor about the trunk and the General Manager determined to open it. He lifted the lid, but got no further. A horrible stench made him drop it at once. Then he telephoned to the police station, and Capt Farnan went around in the patrol wagon and took the trunk to the Central station.

Coroner Hill was summoned, and the investigation began. The people were compelled to either smoke furiously or breathe through deodorizers in order to remain anywhere near the trunk. When it was finally opened the sight revealed was startling. Inside was the trunk of a man’s body, which had been chopped up to fit the dimensions of the peculiar coffin. The head and neck were cut off from the trunk at the top of the chest. The left arm was taken off at the shoulder. Both legs were cut away quite near the trunk. Both feet were cut off at the ankles. All this butchery had been done so well that not a bruise was produced on any part of the body. The legs were doubled up under the back, and the one arm left uncut was folded below. The other limbs were placed in the interstices, but the head and neck were nowhere to be found. The packing was as if a butcher had packed. flesh into a barrel.

The trunk and, the dismembered parts were taken from the box, put upon the floor, and a measure was taken. It showed the body of a man of about 5 feet 8 or 9 Inches. He had in his possession New York papers of Jan. 19 and 20. He had on a calico shirt, with little white polka dots, and on the shirt tag was the name, written very plainly, “C. Kaufhold.” The size of the collar was 14 1/2 inches. The other shirt was of woolen material and was very bloody. The coat was of diagonal striped tweed, gray and black, torn in the back and patched. On the brown paper placed on the body was printed: “London and Manchester Plate Glass Company, Nos. 73 and 75 Wooster-street and Nos. 155 and 135 South Fifth-avenue.”

A tag showed that the trunk had been sent from the Adams Express office, at No. 59 Broadway, New York. Another tag had on it “C. & W. I. R. R., Dearborn Station,” and still another label read, “New York Transfer Company, Dodds Express, Dec. 8, 22 Ridge-street.”

The body was taken to the City Hospital, where it was thoroughly examined. Coroner Hill, who made the examination, thought that it was that of a workingman who had been confined to his bed by sickness for several weeks. The body was muscular in every part, and it was quite clean. Coroner Hill thought that the cutting had been done either by a butcher or a doctor. He said that the body was too much cut up for dissecting purposes, and that he did not think it had been sent for a medical subject. He estimated that it had been dead four or five days.

In the trunk were found several fancy cards with the following address upon them: “Henry Siegel, meat market, No. 205 Throop-avenue, near Floyd-street, Brooklyn, Eastern District.” Several names like the one to which the trunk was addressed were found in the Directory, but none of the persons bearing them knew anything about it. The police think the address fictitious. They look upon the case as a murder. Full details of the case were sent to Inspector Byrnes, of New York.

Published: January 27, 1887 Copyright © The New York Times

This entry was posted in 1880s, Crime, Dismemberment, Murder and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Another Trunk Mystery: A Dismembered Body Received in Baltimore (1887)

  1. Man, that is weird and good!

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