The Alice Crimmins Case
The Window Woman
Finally, more than a year and a half after the Crimmins children were killed, the police believed they had an important break in the case. Sifting through the multitude of letters purporting to offer clues, they came across one dated Nov. 30,1966 and addressed to then-District Attorney Nat Hentel that said as follows.
Dear Mr. Hentel:
Have been reading about your bringing the Crimmins case to the grand jury and am glad to hear of it.
May I please tell you of an incident that I witnessed. It may be connected and may not. But I will feel better telling it to you. This was on the night before the children were missing.
But as the press reported that a handyman saw them at the window that morning, it may not be related at all.
The night was very hot and I could not sleep. I went into the living room and was looking out the window getting some air. This was at 2 a.m. A short while later, a man and woman were walking down the street toward 72 Road. The woman was about five feet in back of the man. She was holding what appeared to be a bundle of blankets that were white under her left arm and was holding a little child walking with her right hand. He now hollered at her to hurry up. She told him to be quiet or someone will see us. At that moment I closed my window, which squeeks [sic] and they looked up but did not see me.
The man took the white bundle and he heaved it into the back seat of the car. She picked up the little baby and sat with him in the back seat of the car. This woman was then with dark hair, the man was tall, not heavy, with dark hair and a large nose. This took place under a street light so I was able to see it quite planly [sic]. The car turned from the corner of 153 St. onto 72 Road and out to Kissena boulevard.
Please forgive me for not signing my name, but I am afraid to.
Wishing you the best of luck.
P.S.--About one hour later I thought I saw just the man getting into a late model white car.
The police were both elated (they knew that the report of a handyman seeing the kids at the window in the morning was unsubstantiated) at receiving the letter and initially despairing at the probability of finding its author.
However, they found a clue in the phrase down the street towards Seventy-Second Road that enabled them to narrow the search down to a reasonable block of residences. They then reduced that to those not having air conditioners beside their windows. The sleuths came up with a possible thirty-nine apartments. Handwriting in the anonymous letter was compared with samples of complaint letters from those apartments leading them to Sophie Earomirski.
Earomirski was a middle-aged, heavyset blonde who often suffered from insomnia. When the investigators interviewed her, they found her story somewhat revised from that in the fateful epistle. Sophie told the police that she now recalled the woman saying, My God, dont throw her like that. While the letter described an incident that may be connected and may not, Sophie now identified the woman she had seen as Alice Crimmins. Earomirski knew Alice from around the neighborhood and Alices photo was regularly in the newspapers so it seems rather odd that, in the letter, Earomirski saw her only as a woman with dark hair and was uncertain as to whether the group she had seen was even connected to the Crimmins case.
However, the police were elated by Earomirskis evidence and viewed it as just what they needed to secure an indictment.
Drawing on Earomirskis story, the investigators put together a scenario of a murderous mother aided by a man with mob ties. For some reason Alice strangled Missy to death, they theorized. Perhaps Missy had intruded on Alice when she and a boyfriend were going at it hot and heavy. Alice had been murderously enraged and her horrified lover had made a quick exit, never to be seen or heard from again.
Alice had told Piering that she had made a phone call to a bar called the Capris that night and spoken to Anthony Grace. They decided that that call must have been about Missys killing and that Grace, eager to shield a ladylove from the results of her impulsive actions, had placed a fatal call from that busy bar. He had called a hoodlum and told the thug to go over to Crimmins place to silence little Eddie. Earomirski had seen a dead Missy being carried in a blanket and her older brother obediently trudging to his doom.