Note: This is an encore post from 2006.
Nov. 23, 1907
Warning: This is a grotesque, tragic story with graphic details.
Pasadena Detective Wallace H. Copping is investigating the murder of a young baby boy, whose half-eaten body was found in a pigpen on the Berry ranch in South Pasadena.
Authorities say the boy, weighing about 14 pounds and less than 10 days old (yes, quite a large baby by today’s standards), was discovered by Mrs. J.H. Anderson, whose husband leases the ranch. Apparently Mr. Anderson picked up the baby’s body as he made the rounds of about 20 homes gathering garbage to feed his pigs.
After the garbage was dumped into the pigpen, Mrs. Anderson “was surprised at the uproar among the swine and investigated.”
“To her horror, she saw the nude body of a baby, with the legs eaten away above the knees and the right arm torn away.” The Times said: “Mrs. Anderson risked her life to rush in and rescue the body of the infant.” Further investigation showed that the baby boy had been struck in the head with a hatchet.
Police dug through the debris, gathering anything that would identify the source of the garbage, and accompanied Anderson as he retraced his route, making inquiries at each home. The body was put on display at a local mortuary, with police taking the names of the hundreds of people who came in an unsuccessful attempt to identify the boy.
Police theorized that the mother had entrusted the baby to the father, who killed the boy rather than find it a loving home. Given the sensational publicity, they hoped that she would recognize the baby’s description and contact authorities. But unfortunately, The Times has nothing further about this case.
Bonus fact: Wallace H. Copping, a Spanish War veteran, died in 1949, at the age of 75.