Gone to Heaven, with a Little Help from Strychnine

A CRAZY MOTHER.

She Murdered and Laid Out Four Children and then Killed Herself.

At Chicago, last Saturday morning, Mary Syeboldt, aged thirty-five years, wife of Caspar Syeboldt, a baker, murdered her four children and then committed suicide. The story of the crime is one of the most remarkable in the police annals of Chicago and ranks with any of the Borgia sensations. At 5 o’clock Saturday morning Caspar Syeboldt arrived home after working all night and was met at the door by his wife. She was dressed in a new chemise trimmed with lace and blue ribbons, purchased especially for the awful occasion. She acted strangely and could scarcely stand.

“Come in, Casper: come in,” she said, waveing her hand, “and see our little children. They are all dead, gone to heaven, Casper. See how pretty they are. Every one has got nice flowers for the angels.” For a moment the husband was stunned and thought his wife crazy. He hurried to the bedroom and there a strange sight met his eyes. Laid out as for burial were the four children. Matilda, aged twelve; Anton, aged seven; Annie aged two years and six months, and the baby Agnes, aged less than four months. They were dressed in white trimmed with blue ribbon and in their hands boquets of fresh flowers.

All were stone dead except Matilda, and she was just breathing. Mrs. Syeboldt followed her husband into the room so full of death and said: “Yes, I sent them all to heaven because God wanted them.” Casper Seyboldt was stupefied, but at last recovered sufficiently to realize the awful deed and then hastened to summon a physician. The latter could do nothing for the dying girl. Attention was then turned to Mrs. Seyboldt, who was in convulsions. She managed to tell that she gave the poison to her children first, laid them out and then prepared herself for death, taking the remnant of a large does of strychnine. She died in great agony shortly after 7 o’clock, and was laid out beside her children.

Letters written by Matilda, the oldest, shows that the poisoning was arranged by her and the mother. Here is an extract:

“I will tell you the story of our trouble.. My mother was always sick, you know, and thought of dying often, and thought how, if she were dead, we would be treated, and so thought it best for us all to die at once, and bought something to kill us. The baby first, Annie second, Tony third and I after, and then my mother. We did not suffer much and now we are all out of trouble.”

The Standard (Albert Lea, Minnesota) Jun 22, 1882

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