Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Daily Creepout: Dr. Carl Tanzler’s Dead Girlfriend

In 1931, Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos, a beautiful young Cuban immigrant, died of tuberculosis. Dr. Carl Tanzler, a German radiologist that had worked at the Florida hospital where Hoyos lay dying, had become infatuated with her while treating her illness. His obsession did not fade after her death. More than two years after she died, Tanzler removed Hoyos’ body from its tomb and brought it home. In an effort to preserve her beauty, he covered her in a coat of wax and plaster and inserted glass eyes into her decomposed face. He dressed her up, sprayed her with perfume and slept with her in his bed for seven years. Tanzler was arrested, but due to a statute of limitations on digging up a corpse, the case was dropped. He later moved to Pasco County, where he died in 1952, near a life-size likeness of Hoyos that he had created out of wax and silk.

More on Necrophiles and Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos

Slideshow: Keeping the Body

Previous Creepouts

Maria Elena Milagros de Hoyo, alive and mummified.


Dr. Tanzler with his wax and silk likeness of Maria.

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