Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
Newspaper Page Text
on the evening of Dec. 15, 1909, as
usual, and the passengers filed
through the gates. surrendering their
tickets to the collectors as is the
fashion in Europe.
No one knew that there were two
red-handed murderers among them
the bk)od of their victim almost still
warm on their clothes.
But, in the midst of all this rush,
these two slayers left a tiny trail
there in the depot which finally led
the police to their goal.
A depot workman found a shred of
cloth and a bunch of human hair on
the step outside the door of one of
the first-class private compartments.
He also noted that the door of the
compartment had been partly broken.
It is not an uncommon occurrence
for a passenger to fall from a com
partment of a speeding train and for
the open door to be slammed closed
again, when it hits the side of a tun
There was every indication that
such an accident had occurred in this
Lepine's'men took charge of the
case. They found that the dead wo
man was Madame Jules Gouin,
widow of a late official of the Bank
of Prance. Her body, with the legs
cut off by a passing train on the
other track, was found the same
night. Her purse containing $30 was
There was no sign of murder; it
seemed plainly an accident so far
as the big and obvious signs were
But there were tiny hidden signs
that were fairly screaming murder to
such a detective as Lepine!
One of these was the position of
the safety lock on the car door. This
was turned to lock the door.
Only a Lepine detective might have
This lock could be turned only
from the outside. No slamming of a
car-door hvcolliding with the side of
a tunnel could have done it!
Monsieur Lepine has always believ
ed in using the aid of the public in
solving mysteries, and to secure this
aid he has always used the news
papers. The small fact of the locked
door was published; it was a small
fact, from the viewpoint of the pub
lic, but a tremendous fact to Lepine.
It spelled murder.
The body of Madame Gouin had
passed through the doorway.
And afterward some human hand
had turned the lock!
It could not have been the woman's
Whose hand then?
A track walker who had read of the
mystery of the locked door, passing
about a mile from where the body
was found, discovered a piece of
window curtain, on which there was
blood. The curtain was of the kind
used in first-class compartments of
Then another workman, several
days thereafter, found Madame
Gouin's handbag, beside the track,
slashed, as if a robber had hurriedly
tried to remove tie contents.
Then the family suddenly remem
bered that Madame Gouin had car
ried three valuable rings, either in
the bag or on her fingers.
The police looked again at the
mysterious car. This time, on the
inner handle of the door, they discov
ered faint marks of bloody hands.
Three weeks had passed, but the
great Bertillion was able to prove
from the marks that the hands were
those of a large man.
Someone, it was established, had
been in ttfe compartment after Ma
dame Gouin's body had fallen out.
k These were the minute clues that
told the tremendous story of what
Now Lepine's men began to seek
clues leading to the criminals.
The first one came from the man
who had been in the compartment
next to Madame Gouin. This man
- ... I