Police Searching For a Cincinnati Man
Who, Relatives Declare, Had Jilted Her. Umbrella Leads To Identiflcation of Mrs. Kraft’s Body
John Koetters, Her Friend, Missing

WHERE IS HE? John B. Koettertt, 30 years old, 5 feet 11 inches tall, from 180 to 200 pounds In weight, light complexion, curly hair, dimple in chin, scar In forehead. The woman who a week ago today was slain with a hammer in the hands of an unidentified assailant in the Saratoga Hotel, at Chicago, was positively, identified yesterday as Mrs. Emma Kraft, 60 years old. who, until two weeks ago lived at Elm and Wade streets, in this city. The clothes which the woman wore on the night she was murdered were brought to Cincinnati by Chicago detectives, and were identified as those of Mrs. Kraft yesterday morning by the dead woman’s niece. Mrs. Elmer Kloker, of 2810 Sidney Avenue, Camp Washington, and the latter’s daughter. Florence, 17 years old. The hammer with which the woman was killed was Identified yesterday by V. N. Devou as one which was bought in his hardware store on Central avenue, on November 9th by a man, who Devou says, was not particular as to the price or quality, saying. “I won’t have much use for It.” A country-wide search was instituted by the police yesterday for John Koetten. 37 years old of 2742 Massachusetts Avenue, this city, whose name has been linked by the local authorities with the murder. Koetters. who Is a machinist by trade, It Is said was an intimate friend of Mrs. Kraft. According to his parents, he left Cincinnati a week ago late Sunday, three days before the murder. Chicago and Cincinnati detectives in charge of the murder Investigation went, to the Koetters home yesterday afternoon, quizzed the parents and sister of the missing man for several hours without obtaining any clews, and took with them photographs of John Koetters, which were reproduced and last night sent to all big cities in the country. His description was immediately dispatched to the police throughout the country.

ARREST EXPECTED SOON. The arrest of Koetters on suspicion is expected at any hour. Detectives all day yesterday combed Cincinnati for the man without success. Apart from the identification of the murdered woman and the clew obtained by the Identification of the hammer as the product of a local firm, the taking up by the police of a search for Koetters was the most important development of the day. Two important clews caused the police to link Koetters’s name with the Chicago crime. First, a note for $800 signed by John Koetters and made payable to Mrs. Kraft; second, a letter written by Mrs. Kraft, addressed to former Patrolman Edmund Westerkamm of 1032 Marshall avenue. This letter was mailed at Greensburg. Ind., on the night of November 14, or 24 hours after its writer had been killed In the Chicago hotel. The missive was received by Westerkamm on the morning of November 15. Both the note and the letter are In the hands of the police. The theory of the police is that the man who murdered Mrs. Kraft left Chicago immediately after the crime and the following night mailed the letter of Mrs. Kraft to Westerkamm at Greensburg so as to mislead the authorities. Whether he then doubled up going back to Chicago, or went to Detroit or some other city. Is still a question. The clever “letter trick,” however, has caused the police to believe that the murderer is a man of more than average intelligence and one who had carefully planned every move before and after the crime. Mrs. Kloker and her daughter left for Chicago last night, accompanied by detectives from the Windy City, with the view of personally Identifying Mrs. Kraft’s body.

Inquiries throughout the neighborhood where Mrs. Kraft lived while In this city yesterday resulted In one unanimous statement, that Koetters was Intimately associated with Mrs. Kraft, having frequently visited her at her various homes here and having been seen repeatedly sitting’ with her on the front porch of her former residence on Marshall avenue. Neighbors positively identified Koetters’s picture as that of the man they had so often seen in the dead woman’s company. At their little dwelling in the rear of 1747 Massachusetts avenue. In a dimly lighted room. Bernard Koetters, 76 years old. and his wife Maria. 70 years old, and their daughter Rose, 22 years old, sat eating their supper about 8 o’ clock last evening. The aged couple, hardly understanding the English language, had not heard or read of the murder mystery In connection with which their son John is now being hunted by the police. When the detectives had called In the morning quizzing them about their son and taking his photograph the couple did not know what It was all about. “Has our boy met with an accident?” asked Mrs. Koetters of a reporter for The Enquirer, speaking In German. Her voice trembled and tears ran down her cheeks, while the old man nervously passed his hand over his eyes. In order to spare the feelings of the aged people they were not told of the reason for the inquiries regarding their son. In, speaking of the latter they told the reporter that “John was always a good boy, but he couldn’t make a success of his work.’ They said that John had worked only off and on, and that of late he had had no steady position. He went to Chicago November 10, they related, telling them he was going to look for work. When in Cincinnati he would come regularly to his meals, they said, and the aged mother added: “He didn’t pay no board, and we didn’t ask him to because we knew he tried his best to find work.” Besides their son John and the daughter mentioned there are three other children. Clara, Celia and George, all over 30 years of age. The daughters are all worklng and supporting the aged parents. The second son, George, Is out of town. Two days after John had left for Chicago, or about 24 hours before the murder was committed, the following letter was received from John at the Koetters home: “Dear Sisters: Well, here I am In Chicago, feeling fine. I was down to the place where I am supposed to go and It looked very good to me but I must go tomorrow again (Tuesday). Then I will know more about It so you need not answer this letter until you hear from me again. I remain yours truly, Johnnie.” The letter was dated “Chicago. November 11. 1912.” The place which the writer refers to in the letter, his relatives think, was a store or factory where he tried to secure work. They said they had been worrying because he had not written them again, and they did not know his address. The Identification of Mrs. Kraft’s clothes at local police headquarters yesterday was surrounded by circumstance which were as miraculous as they were pathetic. Former Patrolman Westerkamm and his wife were sitting at their home yesterday morning reading the newspapers with the description and photographs of the murdered woman’s clothes, when Westerkamm, who incidentally, lives In one of the houses which were sold by Mrs. Kraft before her departure to Chicago, suddenly “got a hunch” Having worked for 24 years on the Cincinnati police force, Westerkamm has a trained eye for “clews.” Without a word to his wife he went down to police headquarters.

The police station was filled with detectives from Chicago and Cincinnati and by newspaper men. Sergeant of Detectives Cal Crim was just remarking to bystanders, “This umbrella ought to help us. Just as did the shoes In the Pearl Bryan case,” when Westerkamm entered walking directly toward the heap of clothes and personal belongings which were piled up In a corner of the room he seized the umbrella, which was the object of the conversation, and said calmly: “Yes. Sergeant, I guess this umbrella will help us out. I think I know it, let me see the rest of the things.” For a few moments Westerkamm silently but carefully examined all the articles, which, being the silent tokens of a brutal murder mystery, presented a gruesome sight. Kneeling down he took the pieces, one by one. looking them over. Finally he arose and with a sigh, said, half to himself, “that’s her all right.” Then addressing the detectives he said firmly. “Wait a while and I wiII bring you two women who will make sure of this thing.” A half hour later Mrs. and Miss Kloker came to the police headquarters, and when shown the articles burst into tears. For several minutes they were only able to nod their heads in answer to the often repeated question. “Do you know the woman?”
Finally Mrs. Kloker told the authorities the clothes were those of her aunt, Mrs. Emma Kraft. “Yes. that is Aunt Emma,” both exclaimed” repeatedly, amid sobs.

“I know who murdered my aunt,” said Mrs. Kloker to the police. “It was a man who promised to marry her and who at one time obtained $800 from her by extortion.” My aunt was a business woman and managed to save a little money. This man tried to get it all away from her, and he murdered her for her money.” Mrs. Kloker then told the police the name of the man who she said had paid continued attention to the murdered woman. A search for the suspect was then begun. When asked whether the name given by Mrs. Kloker was Koetters the police refused to make any statement, assertions; they could not divulge the name until the man wa caught. It Is believed by the police that the dead woman’s companion registered for himself and Mrs, Kraft as husband and wife In the Chicago hotel, using a fictitious name. According to the theory of the police the man, who is about 15 years younger than Mrs, Kraft, learned that she had converted some of her property into money and volunteered to accompany her to Chicago, promising to marry her and settle down when they reached that city. At the hotel, the authorities believe, the murderer told the woman to lie down and rest, after her journey, while he went out to obtain a marriage license, and, as soon as he had made sure that she was asleep he crushed her skull with a hammer, which he had purchased here for that purpose. The actions of Mrs. Kraft prior to her dearture from Cincinnati, according to what can be learned, indicate that she believed she would be married In another city.

A fact which strengthened the police in their suspicion that Koetters has some connection with the murder, was that last February Koetters was charged with the embezzlement of $800. Dennis F. Cash, Director of Public Safety, late last nlgnt said he believed the complainant against Koetters was Mrs. Kraft. It was this charge that later was responsible for the refusal on the part of Mr. Cash to appoint Koetters subfireman, examination for which position the man had passed. Koetters’s name, according to Mr. Cash, was at the head of the civil service list of candidates for the position, and when the name was submitted to him for appointment Mr. Cash said he dropped it because he recalled the embezzlement charge. The charge against Koetters was settled out of Court at the time. The last residence of Mrs. Kraft In this city was at Wade and Elm streets, on the fourth floor of a corner brick building. Across the street from this building at Elm street lives Mrs. Minnie Jennings and her daughter, Mrs. Claude Nelson. Both women were well acquainted with Mrs. Kraft, the latter often coming to visit. It was here that Mrs. Kraft spent much of her leisure time and taiked freely about her past and her future plans. However, she never mentioned the man who frequently visited her in her home, and whom Mrs. Jennings and Mrs. Nelson believed to be the murdered woman’s son. Here is the story of the two women, as they told it, alternatively, to a reporter for The Enquirer last night: “While we never asked Mrs. Kraft about her personal affairs, we often wondered who the tall, dark man was that often stood at the window in her home. A few days before Mrs Kraft left for Chicago we saw this man standing at the window, without coat and hat He looked out and stretched his arms, and stood there for a long while. We saw Mrs. Kraft in the room, too.

On the night she departed for Chicago Mrs. Kraft came over to us to say good–bye she took our names and addresses and said she would write us, and thanked us for whatever we had done for her. She said she would go to Chicago to see some relatives, and from there she intended to go to Kansas City to open up a restaurant. We didn’t see her friend on that day. We did not pay much attention to him. He looked so much younger that we thought him to be her son.” When shown the picture of Koetters the women said they recognized the man they had seen In Mrs. Kraft’s home, adding that he now wears a stubby, black mustache, while on the picture he haa none. Mrs. Kraft was a resident of Cincinnati during practically her entire life. After living In Camp Washington for a long number of years, on November 1 for some unknown reason she took a room In the Palace Hotel, where she lived until November 13 when all trace of her was lost. Prior to the time when Mrs. Kraft lived at the Palace Hotel she stopped for several weeks in rooms over a grocery at the corner of Wade and Elm streets. Several large cases containing her property were shipped to Kansas City, according to express men, but this fact has not yet been verified. Mrs. Kraft owned real estate. Several days before her disappearance from Cincinnati she told Harry Webber, a real estate dealer, with offices In the Gerke Building, who transacted her busines. that she Intended to sell all her property and go to Chicago, where she might be married. Webber and city detectives, following the disclosures made yesterday, investigated the matter and believe that ahe obtained in all about $3000 which is supposed to have been stolen from her by the murderer. When the woman’s body was found her jewelry also was missing. Detective Chief Crawford said yesterday that he remembered that Mrs. Kraft consulted him last summer about the $800 which she had given to the man who promised to marry her and that she wanted him arrested, but that he had advised her to take the case before a Magistrate as it would involve a civil suit. The last time the woman called she said that the man had written her from Chicago and Detroit, and that he had written her for money from each place. Crawford said that he thought that he recognized the face in the photograph, but could not place it until yesterday. Detective Zimmer yesterday wired Captain Halpin of the Chicago police, of the Identification, and also the name of the man who Is believed to have killed Mrs. Kraft. Both the Cincinnati and Chicago police are confident that the murderer will be arrested within a few days. The Chicago defectives returned to their home city last nlght. The Chicago detectives in leaving thanked the Cincinnati police on behalf of their City for the assistance which had been given them saying that Crim and his squad were among the must efficient detectives they had met in the Unlted States. Should the murderer of Mrs. Kraft be found, Crim and his men as well as many other Cincinnatians, will be summoned to Chicago to testify.

Police believe they have found the key to the Saratoga Hotel murder mystery through the identification today of the slain woman as Mrs. Emma Kraft, 60 years old of Cincinnati. The woman’s love for a man whom she was formerly engaged to marry is believed to have brought her to Chicago. Robbery was the motive of the man who beat her with a hammer and left her dying in a hotel bedroom a week ago. Detectives of half a dozen cities are searching for the man the police suspect the former fiance, he has disappeared from his home in Cincinnati. Captain Halpln of the Chicago Detective Bureau, received a telegram from Lieutenant Matthew Zimmer saying that the Identification Is apparently complete. Zimmer and Sergeant John O’Keefe were sent to Cincinnati by Captain Halpln Monday night. Circulars were sent out from Chicago Detective Headquarters tonight calling for the arrest of John B. Koetters. of Cincinnati, in connection with the murder of Mrs. Kraft. Koetters Is described as being about years 36 old. 5 feet 11 Inches tall, from 180 to 20O pounds in weight, and of light complexion, with hair inclined to curl slightly. He has a dimple his chin and a scar on his forehead. After Mrs. Kraft waa found unconscious In the Saratoga Hotel, bells boys and clerks said that the man who had registered there with her as George Remner and wife. Captain John J. Halpln said to-day that the suspect has been under surveillance for several days, and his arrest Is near. Mrs. Jacob Huffman, who knew Mr. Emma Kraft slightly while living in Cincinnati 10 years ago. went to the Detective Bureau late today and was taken to the county morgue, but she failed to identify the body. “1 did not know Mrs. Kraft very well.”


The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Murder of Emma Kraft, November 21,1912

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