While people are murdered every single day, there are some murders that remain in the public consciousness for a very long time. The Luetgert sausage factory murder is an excellent example of that. Although the murder took place more than 100 years ago, it is something that people still talk about to this day.
The murder was committed by a man named Adolph Louis Luetgert, a German immigrant that came to America when he was about 20 years old. While a lot of immigrants struggled, Luetgert was able to make the American dream a reality. He successfully started a sausage business using his own money.
Luetgert also seemed to have success in his personal life. While his first wife, Caroline Roepke, passed away in 1877, he married again. He and his second wife, Louisa Bicknese, had four children together. Luetgert also had 2 children with Caroline.
Unfortunately, Luetgert’s seemingly happy life wasn’t actually happy. According to testimony from neighbors, Luetgert and his wife fought regularly. Many people believed that Luetgert also abused his wife. In addition to that, his sausage business was struggling. Luetgert appeared to have a happy life to outsiders, but on the inside, he was absolutely miserable.
In 1897, Luetgert’s wife, Louisa, disappeared. He told his children and their neighbors that she had gone off to visit her sister. However, this lie didn’t hold up. One of Louisa’s brothers suspected that something was wrong and immediately reported her disappearance to the police.
When the police came to question Luetgert, he told them a different story. He claimed that his wife had actually run off with another man. He said that the story about her visiting her sister was something that he had created in order to save face. When the police continued to investigate the case, however, they learned that the truth was far more disturbing than that.
Luetgert had been spending a lot of time with a wealthy widow. He told the widow that he would marry her in the future. Marrying the widow meant leaving his troubled marriage behind, and it also meant that Luetgert could put his financial difficulties behind him. The police began to suspect that Luetgert had killed his wife so that he could marry this new women.
After continuing the investigation, the police learned that people had witnesses Louisa entering the sausage factory with her husband on the last night that she was seen alive. Police also learned that Luetgert had asked employees to leave the sausage factory early. Most disturbingly, investigators found that Luergert had purchased potash and arsenic the day before Louisa disappeared.
The police came to the conclusion that Luetgert had murdered his wife. After killing her, they believed that he had boiled her body in lye and then disposed of the remains in a furnace at the factory. After inspecting the furnace, police found some of Louisa’s remains.
Luetgert was immediately arrested and charged with murder. However, Luetgert insisted that he was innocent. He was still insisting on his innocence when the case went to trial.
The first trial failed to yield a conviction; the jury could not agree on whether or not Luetgert was innocent. The second trial, however, lead to a guilty conviction. Luetgert was sentenced to life in prison.
This case was one of the first murder cases to be heavily sensationalized by the media. A number of people believed in Luetgert’s innocence and insisted that Louisa was still alive. Others mistakenly believed that Louisa’s remains were made into sausage, which was sold to the general public.
The Luetgert sausage factory murder is a case that no one will ever forget. It’s an extremely memorable murder case.