You don’t hear much about axe murders these days. Sure, there are plenty of shootings and terrible accidents, but hardly any axe murders. A century ago, however, they seemed to be all the rage. One of the most brutal murders of this variety occurred in 1912 in the small town of Villisca, Iowa.
In Villisca, the Moore family was affluent and well liked.
At the time of the murder in 1912, there were six members of the Moore household: Josiah, Sarah, and their four children, Herman Montgomery, Mary Katherine, Arthur Boyd, and Paul Vernon.
On the evening of June 9, 1912, they returned home late from a function at their church. Staying with them that night were the children of family friends, Ina Mae and Lena Gertrude Stillinger.
After everyone was sound asleep, the killer struck.
According to police, the person went from room to room, brutally butchering each person in the house. Strangely enough, the killer used the blunt end of their axe to kill most of the victims. They only used the sharp end on the mother and father. A number of cigarette butts found in the attic the following morning suggested to police that the killer had been hiding up there for quite some time, patiently waiting for everyone to fall asleep.
In the wake of the brutal murders, the town became the focus of regional media attention. Still, police couldn’t come up with a suspect.
A number of suspects were brought in for questioning, and some were even put on trial for the murders. Sadly, each one seemed to have an iron-clad alibi. The Villisca axe murders remain unsolved to this day.
If you find yourself passing through Iowa, you can spend the night in the Moore family home. It’s now a bed and breakfast.
(via Prairie Ghosts)