Evil in Otsego County: The Mallet Murderer Part Two
This is the second of a multi part series, click here for part one.
The Investigation Continues
When we left off yesterday, we were looking into the medical examiner's initial findings, and how Harry Wright's injuries and the shape of the supposed hit and run scene were filled with inconsistencies. Bear in mind, this was a time before modern forensic investigation and DNA analysis. This was good old fashioned police work.
Upon looking closer, the medical examiner determined that Wright's injuries were quite extensive. He had several fractures to his shoulders, his breastbone was just about pulverized, and most of his ribs were broken. The medical examiner opined that Wright was run over twice by an automobile.
Also noted was a suspicious injury to Wright's head that looked like blunt force trauma. It was determined that an encounter with an errant car would not have caused such head injuries. A toxicology screen revealed there was not enough alcohol in his system to make him drunk. While foul play seemed glaringly obvious, there was no way to fully explain the injuries. At this point, the investigation began to focus on Eva Coo.
During interviews, curious stories arose, and none of them seemed to add up. The times she claimed to have seen and spent time with him versus when he died and his body was found just didn't add up. The Wright family's headstone in the local cemetery had been altered three weeks prior to his death, rolling back his birth year by five years. It turns out Eva Coo had taken out a large insurance policy on Wright, and this alteration would provide for cheaper premiums. Coo was the sole beneficiary.
Auto Shop Gives Promising Lead
Again, good old fashioned police work. While looking for the mystery hit and run car at local shops, it was discovered that Martha Clift, an associate of Coo's who worked at the inn had rented a Willys-Knight car for the night. These we big, heavy cars. When Clift returned the car the next day, she acted very nervous and weird. Now, Martha Clift didn't have a driver's license. Clift would not have been driving at any given time. When looking over the Willys-Knight, stains resembling dried blood were found on the rear seats.
A witness interview with a Woodbine Inn patron revealed that Coo had taken out multiple insurance policies on Wright, that he didn't know existed. Signatures were forged, and information falsified. Payouts were doubled if Wright died in an accident scenario.
With many questions still unanswered, authorities were firmly convinced that Wright had been a victim of murder, killed by Eva Coo. Investigators needed to find where he had been killed, and how.
More tomorrow in part three!