Sunday, January 30, 2011

Officers probing death of frozen Sumpter Farmer

This story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press on Monday, January 27, 1936.

Herbert Whittaker, 62 year old Sumpter Township farmer, was found frozen and covered with blood in the yard in front of his home on Harris Rd. at 8 o’clock this morning by a neighbor, John Demsky, who was the last to see him alive. The two had been to a beer garden Sunday night and had returned at about 1 o’clock this morning. Mr. Demsky observed while on his way to work this morning that there was no smoke coming from his neighbor’s chimney and on investigation found the body lying in the snow. He admitted that they had both drinking strong liquor during the previous evening.

The circumstances so far determined do not point to foul play, according to Corporal Frank Walker of the Ypsilanti State police and Wayne County Deputy Harry Agge, who are investigating the case. Two windows were found broken in the front of the house and two in the rear. A bench beneath the front windows was overturned a few feet from the frozen body. The key to the house was found in the snow. A bill fold containing a one dollar bill was found in the dead man’s clothing and there was no evidence that a struggle had taken place inside the house.

Corporal Walker thinks it possible that Mr. Whittaker lost his key and then attempted to get into his home through the windows, injuring himself in the process and then dying of exposure. The body has been taken to the Wayne County morgue and will be examined to determine the nature of the injuries.

Mr. Whittaker was unmarried and lived alone. He has a brother, Walter, 64, who lives on Bemus Road about a mile from his home.

The following was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press on Tuesday, January 28, 1936.

Farmer’s death caused by cold

Herbert Whittaker, 62, Sumpter farmer, died of exposure, according to findings of Dr. R. Robert Kallman, Wayne County medical examiner. Mr. Whittaker was found dead in the yard of his home Monday.

Deep cuts on the face and arms, which at first caused Wayne County deputy sheriffs to believe he had been slain, evidently were received when he broke a window while trying to get into his house. He had spent the evening before in a beer parlor with a neighbor.

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