Press enter after choosing selection

Slain Ann Arbor Boy's Body Found

Slain Ann Arbor Boy's Body Found image
Parent Issue
Copyright Protected
Rights Held By
Donated by the Ann Arbor News. © The Ann Arbor News.
OCR Text

Ann Arbor Boy’s Body Found

Barry Rothstein, 13, Murdered, Says Chief Mortenson

Autopsy Shows Tappan School Pupil Was Shot; Blood Stains In Nearby House Checked

Barry Rothstein, 13-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Rothstein, 939 Greenwood Ave., was found dead this morning, his face covered with blood, at the rear of the home of a neighbor, Mrs. Marie Burg.

Chief of Police Sherman H. Mortenson said the boy had been murdered. An autopsy this afternoon, Chief Mortenson said, by Dr. Robert J. Parsons, assistant professor of pathology at the University disclosed the boy had been shot in the chest with a .22 caliber gun. The chief declared the fact that the boy’s face was covered with blood probably was due to the fact the bullet had pierced a lung and he had bled profusely at the mouth.

Detectives are examining what appear to be blood stains in the kitchen, cellarway, and porch of the home of Elbert R. Wall, 952 Greenwood. Mrs. Burg, who lives at 948 Greenwood, next door to the Wall home, discovered the body at 9:15 a.m. The ground near it showed evidence that the dead boy may have been dragged from the rear of the Wall home. The body was found about 20 feet from the Warr porch on the property of Mrs. Burg. The Rothstein home is about 60 yards west and across the street from there.

Ann Arbor city police and Prosecuting Attorney Francis W. Kamman questioned half a dozen persons this morning, but so far have made no arrests. Blood stains in the kitchen of the Wall home, the floor, and on a refrigerator, indicated, Prosecutor Kamman said, the crime could have been committed there. Also there were stains on the wall and on the steps in the cellar stairway.

Dr. Edwin C. Ganzhorn, coroner, indicated the Rothstein boy had been killed "sometime before midnight," but could not establish the time of death more definitely. Rigor mortis had set in when the body was discovered.

City Police Detective Eugene Gehringer and Chief of Police Sherman H. Mortenson found that unused cistern with a concrete cover had been tampered with, indicating an attempt might have been made to place the body in the cistern. The cistern is in the rear of the Wall home near the back porch and is filled in.

Prosecutor Kamman this morning questioned Jack Wall, 11-year-old son of the Walls, and a playmate of the dead boy, who was the only member of the Wall family at home. Mr. Wall, the son stated, was in Detroit at his job with the Michigan Central Railroad, while Mrs. Wall is employed at the Willow Run bomber plant and also was working today.

Wooden Pistol Found

Under the boy's body was found a wooden pistol covered with blood and Jack Wall told the officers it was Barry’s and that he nearly always carried it with him. A similar gun with a red stain was found on the roof of a garage back of the Wall home.

Jack told the prosecutor he had arrived home about 3:30 p.m. yesterday, and left again to “teach some friends to roller skate.” He returned home when his mother arrived at 5:15 p.m., had dinner, lay down on the living room davenport, did an errand for his mother ("something to do with insurance”), and went to bed at about ten o’clock.

John Oxley, University student, living at the Wall home, said he came home at 6:45 p.m., and remained in his room until this morning. Police had not yet questioned Richard Osborn, another student roomer, but, according to Oxley, Osborn arrived at his room about midnight, and went to bed. Mr. and Mrs. Wall had not been questioned at noon today.

Mother Tells Of Threats

Mrs. Rothstein, hysterical over her son’s death, told The Ann Arbor News that threats had been made against her son.

"They said they would kill him at 11 o’clock today,” she said, adding that her son had told her of the threats, but had not specified by whom they were made except that they were made by Barry’s friends.” Asked why they had threatened him, Mrs. Rothstein said:

"Because he is a Jew.”

The Rothsteins notified police at 9:30 p.m. yesterday that Barry had failed to come home after leaving the house at 4 p.m. to play in Burns Park. He was wearing a maroon plaid jacket, long brown trousers, and a skull-cap which is what he wore when his body was found. He was a seventh-grader at the Tappan school.

Mrs. Burg discovered his body when she went out on her back porch this morning to "shake out a sheet,” she said. 

Lived Here Two Years

The Rothsteins have lived in Ann Arbor about two years. The boy's father is a war plant work-employed at the Buhr Machine Co. There are two other sons, Irwin, 10, and Leonard, six.

WHERE BODY WAS FOUND: The white spot in the above picture marks the spot where Mrs. Marie Burg, 948 Greenwood Ave., this morning found the body of 13-year-old Barry Rothstein who, city police say, was murdered sometime between the time he left his home at 939 Greenwood Ave. to go to Burns Park about 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon and midnight. Police followed marks from the body back to the Elbert Wall home at 952 Greenwood Ave. and this afternoon were questioning 11-year-old Jack Wall, the only member of his family contacted up to noon. Jack’s parents, at work today, and a University student who lives at the Wall home are also to be questioned.

BELIEVED MURDERED: The body of Barry Rothstein, 13-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Rothstein, 939 Greenwood Ave., was found in the backyard of a neighboring home at 948 Greenwood Ave. about 9:25 this morning. He had been reported missing at 9:15 last night. An autopsy showed that the boy had been shot in the chest with a 22-caliber rifle. City police, believing murder the cause of the boy's death, are seeking further clues,

INVESTIGATORS FOUND BLOODSTAINS HERE: City Police, investigating the suspected murder sometime before midnight of Barry Rothstein, 13-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Rothstein, 939 Greenwood Ave., are investigating blood streaks and spots found at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Elbert Wall, 952 Greenwood Ave., across the street from Barry's home and next to 948 Greenwood Ave. where Barry's body was found shortly after 9 o'clock this morning. The large circle on the picture marks two streaks of blood which have streaks of something else, unidentified as yet, beside them. Other circles indicate blood spots where blood had dropped or spattered.