Monday, February 13, 2012

Mystery Monday - The Manhunt and "Death" of Leo Hall

As detailed in my previous post, "Leo W Hall, Bigamist and Scoundrel",  Leo Hall abandoned his wife and children to marry another woman and ran off to Florida for his honeymoon.

His first and legitimate wife, Amelia Lanz Hall, was unaware that he had left her for another woman.  Leo had told her that he had been assigned to some work in Minoa, NY (about 50 miles from Utica, NY).  A few days later she received a letter from him informing her that he had been given a pass from the railroad company for free travel to Richmond, VA and was going to take Amelia with him.  Several days went on with no word from him and she became concerned.  

She contacted the railroad and was informed that he had indeed traveled to Richmond, VA, but had been accompanied by another woman, Kittie Loughrey.  Frantically, she asked for an investigation and learned that Leo had married a woman in Fulton, NY.  A warrant was issued for his arrest on the charge of abandonment in the southern states of Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

About this time, Kittie's parents, James and Mary Loughrey received a telegram from their daughter in Florida informing them that stated "Leo is dead.  Will arrive home Wednesday or Thursday".   

Amelia's relatives scoffed at the idea that Leo had somehow conveniently died.  One of Amelia's brothers stated in the paper, "He never did anything as good as that -- dying."

It is important to note that Leo had emptying the family bank accounts before he left which left the family destitute.  He had three children.  One a newborn (born only a few days before he disappeared), a daughter, Beatrice and a son, Joseph.  Joseph was discovered to have an eye problem and was nearly blind.  His mother was in such dire straights financially that she had to put Joseph in an institution for treatment as she didn't have the money to care for him at home.  

A week before the telegram was received, the Loughrey family had received a letter from Kittie stating that Leo was sick in a hospital in Jacksonville and to send money.  When authorities contacted the hospitals and morgues in and around Jacksonville there was no evidence of anyone dying named Leo Hall.

Legal authorities disregarded the supposed death of Leo Hall and continued to search for him to bring him to face charges for abandonment.

Authorities eventually caught up with Leo Hall and arrested him in Tampa in June 1921.  He was brought back to Utica to be prosecuted.  

From the newspaper accounts, the legal case against Leo Hall was an open and shut case and he was sentenced to 1 year and two months in Auburn prison in New York State.   He began to serve his sentence on July 1, 1921.

You will be surprised to learn what happens after Leo is released from prison...

Next Post:  The Aftermath of Leo Hall's Betrayal


  1. Awesome story! I can't wait to hear what happens next!


    1. Hi Lisa, Glad you like it. You never you know what you might dig up :-)