Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Albert Fish


With the wildflowers she had gathered arranged in a bouquet, Gracie came into the house and up to the bedroom. When she saw the old man naked, she screamed for her mother and tried to escape. But Fish had grabbed her by her throat and choked her to death. He was sexually aroused by the act of strangling her.

Police search for Gracie
Police search for Gracie

He propped up her head on an old paint can and decapitated her, catching most of the blood in the paint can. Afterwards he threw the bucket of blood out into the yard. He undressed the headless child, then he went back to her body and cut it in two with the butcher knife and cleaver.

Parts of her body he took with him wrapped in newspaper. The rest he left there until he returned several days later when he threw the portions of her body over a stone wall in the back of the house. He disposed of his tools in the same fashion. After his confession, Det. King had a final question: What caused him to do this horrible thing?

"You know," Fish answered. "I never could account for it."

Captain John Stein asked him why he had written the letter to the Budds and Fish responded that he didn't know why. "I just had a mania for writing."


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