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One can only imagine how difficult it was to solve crimes over a century ago, when fingerprinting was a technique that was still a novelty and rural police departments had minimal resources and facilities to conduct in-depth investigations. Such were the conditions surrounding the tragic mass murder, dubbed “The Villisca Axe Murders”, of eight residents in Villisca, a sleepy town in southwestern Iowa, in the year 1912. To this day, the case remains unsolved despite numerous suspects and the circulation of various theories.
The Villisca Axe Murders
On the evening of June 9th, 1912, Sarah Moore, after coordinating a successful Children’s Day program at the local Presbyterian Church, headed home along with her husband, Josiah, and her four children, Herman, Catherine, Boyd, and Paul. Lena and Ina Stillinger, who were friends of the Moore children and had planned to sleep over at the Moore house, accompanied them. That was the last time any of them were seen alive.