Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Albert Fish

A Knock at the Door

Edward Budd was an enterprising 18-year-old. He was determined to make something of himself and escape the desperate poverty of his parents. On May 25, 1928, he put a classified ad in the Sunday edition of the New York World: "Young man, 18, wishes position in country. Edward Budd, 406 West 15th Street." He was a strapping young fellow who was eager to work and contribute to the well-being of his family. Trapped in the dirty, stinking, crowded city in a miserable tenement with his father, mother and four younger siblings, he longed to work in the country where the air was fresh and clean.

Grace Budd
Grace Budd

On the following Monday, May 28, Edward's mother, Delia, a huge mountain of a woman, answered the door to an elderly man. He introduced himself as Frank Howard, a farmer from Farmingdale, Long Island, who wanted to interview Edward about a job.

Delia told her five-year-old Beatrice to get her brother at his friend's apartment. The old man beamed at her and gave her a nickel.

While they waited for Edward, Delia had a chance to get a better look at the old man. He had a very kindly face, framed by gray hair and accented by a large droopy gray moustache. He explained to Mrs. Budd that he had earned his living for decades as an interior decorator in the city and then retired to a farm he had bought with his savings. He had six children that he raised by himself since his wife had abandoned them all over a decade ago.

 

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