Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Servant Girl Annihilator

Long, Hot Summer

The fourth and fifth victims turned up late in August on San Jacinto and Cedar Streets, a block south of the place where Eliza Shelley had been murdered. Rebecca Ramey was in the employ of Valentine Weed, who owned a livery stable, according to Saylor. She had been knocked out while asleep in her bed, and her 11-year-old daughter, Mary, was dragged outside, raped, and stabbed through both ears with an iron rod. Rebecca survived but Mary did not (although she did not die instantly from this horrendous attack). It seemed that the midnight fiend had knocked the girl out inside the cottage before dragging her to the alley outside to complete his crime. The tracker with his bloodhounds was sent for even before the marshal arrived on the scene. Rebecca, dazed, failed to recall any helpful details.

That night, a black man in the vicinity was chased by a bloodhound and later arrested, but was released the following morning. Now the people of Austin were reaching a level of concern about these killings that verged on panic. They wanted the murderer caught so the city could be restored to its usual safe status, where people could keep windows open on hot summer days and nights without fear that some intruder would climb through and do them in. At least the victims were servants. That was somehow comforting to the white middle and upper classes. But everyone was of one mind in demanding that the police do something about this marauder. Lee's competence was widely questioned.

Then someone had the fearsome opportunity to witness the killer in the act, but not before he had taken two lives in one night.

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