Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/413

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The Split Guinea Feather By J. H. Rockwell ON THE morning of May 11, 1912, a Chicago newspaper printed a story from Los Angeles, California, about a young woman found murdered in an unoccupied bungalow at a lonely spot on the outskirts of that city. A scapular and a medal found on the body bore inscriptions which indicated that the victim had been a member of "The Children of Mary" and "The League of the Sacred Heart." Both of these are societies associated with the Cathe dral of the Holy Name, in Chicago. The hat and the clothing worn by the woman also carried the trade-mark of a Chicago department store. The details of the scapular, medal and trade-mark and a description of the young woman, printed in the re port, were all the clews that seemed to carry with them any importance as means by which the murdered woman might be identified, and her murderer brought to justice. The story as printed in the Chicago newspapers made no mention of a split guinea feather with which the hat was trimmed. It was considered an unim portant detail at the first, and was so considered almost to the end of the investigation, when fate — or Provi dence — intervened and showed it to be a leading factor in the case. There was another circumstance the papers failed to give adequate weight — the circumstance that the clothing on the body of the dead woman had been par tially burned. On the twelfth of May the captain of detectives in Chicago sent the fol lowing message to the chief of police in Los Angeles: "A number of inquiries

here about body of girl found murdered in your city. Please send me accurate description and full particulars. If I can be of any assistance, call on me." Back came a message amplifying the description of the unknown woman; nothing, however, was said about the split guinea feather or the burnt cloth ing. The only clew given to help the search in Chicago, was the scapular and the medal bearing the names of the societies associated with the Cathe dral of the Holy Name. This was not very much, but it was enough to move the detective force to action. Men were sent out on the faint trail thus furnished; it led them in three directions, but to nothing tangible. Into the midst of this search was projected another clew. Word came from Los Angeles that a suit case, which had remained unclaimed for two weeks in a railway station at Pasa dena, had proven, upon examination, to have been the property of a nurse from Chicago. Her name was on some of the garments it contained, and the baggage agent with whom the suit case had been left had substantially iden tified the dead woman as the one who had brought in the suit case. The hospitals of Chicago were thor oughly searched for trace of a nurse bearing the name and answering to the description of the owner of the baggage at Pasadena, and finally her name was found on the rolls of "The Children of Mary." The trail was becoming more distinct. It was at this point that the split guinea feather became a factor in the hunt. On May 17 word was received in Chicago from the chief of