Evil in Otsego County: The Mallet Murderer Part Three
This is the third of a multi part series, click here for part two.
Welcome back! Yesterday we left off with investigators trying to unravel the mystery of Harry Wright's murder, and how exactly Eva Coo was involved. While the investigation was doing just that, there was a crack in the case.
An Unexpected Visit
There was an old, decrepit house on Crumhorn Mountain owned by one Mrs. Fink. Being an empty old house, it was often the target of vandalism and robbery. Right around the time of Wright's murder, Mrs. Fink was tipped off that there were two people spotted at the house. Upon arriving, she ran right into Eva Coo and Martha Clift. Mrs. Fink confronted Coo, and the normally cantankerous woman was sweet as pie, which was out of character. Coo insisted she hadn't touched anything in the house and left. Based on this encounter, the timing of Eva Coo's side of the story just did not add up.
Coo was also running her mouth around town. She told a neighbor that she was worried about being implicated in Wright's death. Coo also asked people to say that she had never left the Woodbine Inn that fateful night.
Police knew this was hogwash. They knew she went up Crumhorn Mountain to Mrs. Fink's property. At this time, Martha Clift seemingly vanished into thin air. The more people police spoke to, the more things began to unravel and point right at Eva Coo. A Woodbine Inn employee revealed that Coo was quite mean to Harry Wright, and had even once threatened him with a wooden mallet. Investigators put two and two together, and realized such a mallet could deliver blows like the ones found on Wright's head. But like her counterpart Martha Clift, Coo's mallet was nowhere to be found.
A Warrant and Arrests
Additional snooping found that Harry Wright had come in to significant amounts of cash through inheritance and a property sale, and that Coo had promptly pocketed all of the money.
With all of the pieces falling into place, Eva Coo was arrested. After a short search, Martha Clift was located and taken into custody. Fearing the worst, Clift swiftly turned on Eva Coo, spilling the beans all over the place. The Woodbine Inn was extensively searched, and a wooden mallet was found in a crumpled hat. Both were caked with blood.
Police were easily able to coax a full confession from Clift. Under false pretenses, Wright was lured to Mrs. Fink's property. Clift was behind the wheel of the Willys-Knight and drove it with the intention of hitting Wright with it. When he jumped out of the way, Coo appeared, mallet in hand, and smacked him over the head with it. This directed him back into the direction of the car, and he was run over. To make sure he was really dead, Clift reversed and ran him over again.
It was then that Mrs. Fink showed up and Coo feigned sweetness. This is because Harry Wright's bleeding body was under the car while they talked just steps away. When Mrs. Fink left the scene, the body was loaded into the car, dumped where it was found, and the car returned to the garage. It was then that Eva Coo called the authorities to report Harry Wright missing.
Stay tuned for part four, the trial and execution of Eva Coo.
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Gallery Credit: Nicholas Kessler