True Nightmares: Tales of Terror is examing the disturbing case of Adolph Luetgert, who killed his wife, Louise Luetgert, and dissolved her remains in acid in one of the large vats at his sausage factory in Chicago, Illinois.
There have been plenty of myths surrounding this case; some claimed that Luetgert had actually turned his wife into sausages and sold them to unwitting consumers. And another myth claimed he was completely innocent and that Loiuse was happily traveling the country. However, the evidence of what happened to Louise Luegert is pretty straightforward.
Adolph Luetgert was a German migrant who arrived and settled in Chicago, Illinois, in the 1870s. He worked as a tanner for a few years before setting up his own sausage company in 1879. His first wife, Caroline, died in 1877, but it was the death of his second wife, Louise Luetgert, that brought him notoriety.
On the night of May 1, 1897, Louise Luetgert appeared to vanish without a trace. Luetgert told his children that their mother had gone to stay with her sister. But she never returned.
After a few days, Louisa’s brother, Diedrich Bicknese, grew increasingly concerned, and he reported her disappearance to the police. When questioned by the investigators, Luetgerts suddenly changed his story claiming that his wife had run off with another man.
However, the police became increasingly suspicious of Louise’s actual whereabouts. They learned that the Luetgerts had had an unhappy marriage and had argued continuously. There were also rumors that Luetgert was in financial difficulty and wished to be rid of his wife so he could marry a wealthy widower.
Further damaging evidence came to light when a night watchman at Luetgert’s sausage factory said the married couple had appeared at the factory on the night she disappeared. He told the police that Luetgert had told him to take the rest of the night off.
The detectives also found documents that indicated Luetgert had bought arsenic and potash the day before Louise had disappeared.
The cops came to a rather disturbing conclusion; they surmised that Luetgert had lured his wife to the factory, killed her, and then boiled her in acid in a sausage vat and shoved the remains into the factory furnace.
Louise Luetgert had been dissolved in a sausage vat
A search of the furnace found human remains amongst charred sausages. The investigators found human bones that included a women’s skull. They also found what appeared to be jewelry belonging to Louise; they uncovered a ring with the initials LL.
Despite all the evidence, Luetgert insisted that he was innocent. His first trial ended with a split jury, but a second trial found him guilty of murder.
In January 1898, Luetgert was sent to prison for the rest of his life, still professing his innocence. He died from heart disease in July 1899.
After his death, Chicago lawyer Frank Pratt claimed he’d visited the killer in prison in February 1898, when Luetgert admitted that he killed his wife when possessed by the devil.
More from True Nightmares: Tales of Terror
Follow the links to read about more chilling murders profiled on True Nightmares: Tales of Terror.
Graham Backhouse was a wealthy farmer in the English countryside who attempted and failed to kill his wife Margaret Backhouse with a car bomb. He then murdered his neighbor Colyn Bedale-Taylor as part of an elaborate scheme to frame him for the attempted murder of Margaret.
Previously on True Nightmares: Tales of Terror, the show examined Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration behind Pyscho’s Norman Bates and other horrifying Hollywood characters. Gein murdered and dug up corpses so he could create a suit out of body parts. He also made furniture out of human body parts in his grisly house of horrors.
True Nightmares: Tales of Terror airs at 11:30/10:30c on Investigation Discovery.More: True Nightmares: Tales of Terror