Joseph Warren Duer Case Study

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The surviving Hartman daughters admitted their mother had collected the insurance money, totaling $4700 on all three family members, but they had no idea how she spent it. Police said the Hartman home was heavily mortgaged, but the money had not been spent to pay down the loan. Daughter Nettie, who also lived with her mother, was apparently the next target. Nettie reported receiving several boxes of candy from an anonymous sender who was later revealed to be her mother. Could this too have been poisoned? Nettie had felt ill after eating some of the candy and thrown it away, however, no trace of the candy remained for testing. Investigations also revealed there was also the possibility Mrs. Hartman was responsible for the death of an elderly woman whom she cared for. Physicians testified they had treated Mary Hartman for scars on her arms, which she said were the result of rabbit bites. The doctors felt they…show more content…
Many murders surround a husband or wife who can’t bear the thought of their spouse leaving them, but what about the children? Long Beach mail carrier, Joseph Warren Duer (5/5/1895-1/10/1929), suffocated his two baby daughters in their bed rather than surrender their custody to his wife of four years. Had Joseph Duer hated his wife Dorothy so much that he would kill his children rather than let them be with their mother? It was a well thought out act, authorities surmised. Investigators believed Duer used some sort of an anesthetic to kill the children, Dorothy (12/20/1926-1/9/1929), age 2½ years, and Charlotte (3/10/1928-1/9/1929), age 9 months. The bed clothing near where police found their bodies, and a towel on the bed, had been soaked with a liquid of some kind. A bottle, marked “chloroform” was nearby. But their deaths had rattled their father. A distraught Joseph Duer fled to his sister’s home in Los Angeles. But no one was at home and Duer left before Los Angeles officers, placed on guard, could intercept
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