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Drowning Mystery

Drowning Mystery image
Parent Issue
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A most rnysterious case of drowning oocurred in the linron river, just veest of Poster's, abont 1 :30 o'clcok Wednesday morning, of which George Beckwith, a paper hanger from Chelsea, nged 2 4 years, was the victirn. In company with JRansom Armstrong, also of Chelsea, he was in Aun Arbor, Tuesday, and attended Barnum & Bailey's circus in the afternoon, both of them afterwards driving around the city with au Ann Arbor friend. They went to the Michigan Central depot with the iutenion of taking tbe 9 :48 p. m . train, but before they could get there the train pulledo nt and left them. They stayed arouod the depot abont 20 minutes and then as Armstrong had tn be in Chelsea the next ruorning to open the store in which he is employed, they agreed tu walk there and started off alotig the track. When they got as far as the seoond bridge böyoud Foster's, Beckwith declared that he could go no further as bis feet galled hiru, Armstrong rallied him and said "You're not goiDg to shake me now, Becky, are you?" and Beckwith said he would go on to Chelsea. Arrustrnog started forward aud as he snpposed heard Beckwith's footsteps on the gravel following him. After going a short distauce he heard tbe footsteps no lonegr and turning round he cocld see no sign of Beckwith. He turned back and as be walkedkept calling out "Oh, Beok," "Beek where are you?'' "Why don't you answer?" Receiving no reesponse be comroeuced a systematio search for him aloug both sides oï the railroad. Although he looked for half au hour or more and called frequeutly he couíd íiud no trace of him aud ne er saw hrai agaiu until be 6aw hiru a I corpse. After bis fruitless search Armstrong walked ouwards to Delhi, where be sat down with a man einployed in the mili tbere and told him hovv he bad lost his companion. The man told hiui he was expectiug tbree young men froru the circos aud Armstroog waited nntil they carne np when be enquiñad of them if tbey had seen bis chnm. They had seen no one and shortly afterwards Armstrong left for Chelsea, arriving there at about 4 o'clock. lt was 12:45 standard when Armstrong was at Delhi. At about 1 o'clock or 1 :30 Wednesday njorning Walter Warren and Monroe Keudall, two young men living at Foster's, returned home from the circus in company with two girls named Kate and Mary Neff who live on the opposite side of the river from the railroad. When they arrived at the home of the Neffs Warren sat down on the steps and the other three went into the house. As he sat there Warren heard a cry from the direction of the river. It was repeated, and then he oalled out to Keüdall that tbere was soraeone in trouble down there. fioth young men made their way down to the river and by stoopiug down they oould see the head and shouders of a man who called loudly for help as he was diowning. Warren called to him to get hold of the bushes aud get to shore. "I have ruy foot on a stone, " said the man in the river, "and I'm all crainped up. Come quick or I' 11 drown. " Kendall threw off bis clothes and shoes and going into the water swan off in the direction of the sounds. He did not get far before a splash in the water was heard, the man 's head and shoulder sank from view. They did not see him again, bnt they heard him come up aad oough the water out of his mouth and throat, theu he sank again and altbough Kendall swam over to where he had been and stayed for several minutes he could see no trace of him. Both Kendall and Warren then went back to the Neff house, and when Keudall was fully dressed went over to William Clark's, who lives near by, told him the ciicumstances and asked him what they should do. He told hem to go to Ann Arbor and teil Sheriff Judson. This, Warren, in company with a brother of the Neff girls did, arriving in Ann Arbor at 'ó o'clock. Kendall iu the meantiine stayed in the house. About 6 o'clock Sheriff Judson and Coroner Ball arrived at Foster's and searoh was at once begun for the body. It was not until 11 o'clock after Mr. Judson had returned to Ann Arbor and taken out with him Deputy Sheriff Fred Jerry that the latter saw the body lying on its back with the hands upraised in about five feet of water. With the aid of a forked stick the body was aised and taken to shore and later taken to Dieterle'B undertaking rooms, Ann Arbor. In the evening the body was taken to Chelsea for burial. In the pockets of his clothes were found a gold watch, 50 cents iu money, and some other trifles. Dr. Ernest A. Clark examined the body after it was taken from the water. He found four bruises on the face, at the outer side of the left eye, on the upper lid of the right eye, on the lower lip and on the ear, all of which were similar and looked as if they had been caused by some blunt instrument. He gave it as his opinión from the condition of the body that the young man's death was caused by drowning and that the blows received on his face were not sufficient to cause immediate death. The above story is gathered from the evidence eiven at an inquest held yesterday afternoon at E. Dieterle's undertaking rooms before Coroner Ball and a jury composed of Fred Jerry, Fred J. Dausingburg, P. J. Lehman, Martin Wackenhut, Jos. H. Ball and John Dieterle, when Dr. E. A. Clark, Ransom Armstrong, Walter Warren, Monroe Kendall, Fred Jerry and Sheriff Judson were examined as witnesses, and frorn a visit to the place. The inquest was adjourned until Monday at 2 p. rn. Nothing further than what was already know was brought out at the inquest and bow the young man got across the intervening 10 acre field and long stretch of swamp between the railroad and the river to the place where be was drowned, just above the old dam, is something that nobody knows. Sheriff Judson traced his tracks through the swamp, and others who were in boats searching for the body saw wbere he had slipped off the bank, which is quite steep, into the water. Whether be was assaulted by some person or persons after he left Armstrong, and, frightened and dazed by the blows received, rushed ovsr the barbed wire fence and throogh the field and marsh, unheeding where he went, in ari effort to get away, until he found himself in the river with no idea how to get out again ; or whether he left the track with the intention of striking across lots to get on the highway and becoming entangled in the swamp got bevnldered and wandered into thft river, are only conjectures which cannot be verified. But the fact still remains that it is one of the most mysterious cases of disappearance and drowning that has ever happened in these parts.