Greater than 100 years later, persons are nonetheless asking: Whodunnit? Who murdered 20-year outdated Hazel Drew?
Blonde, buxom and blue-eyed, her physique was discovered face down — her cranium crushed — in Teal’s Pond on July 7, 1908, in a closely wooded distant part of Sand Lake close to upstate Troy, NY.
The investigating DA interviewed all of the locals who knew her, her household, lots of her secret lovers, and anybody who encountered her by probability the evening she was murdered, however gave a move to 2 influential suspects, each Republicans within the notoriously corrupt city.
And but, the story of Hazel Drew by no means died. Many years later, screenwriters David Lynch and Mark Frost have been brainstorming story concepts in a Los Angeles espresso store when Frost remembered tales from his youth, fabulist tales spun by his grandmother whereas he spent his summers in Taborton, NY, near the scene of Drew’s homicide.
“Don’t go into the woods at evening,” his grandmother warned him. Hazel Drew’s ghost was mentioned to hang-out the realm, ready for her killer to be recognized.
Frost and Lynch agreed it was a fantastic premise for a TV present. They used Drew’s story as inspiration for his or her character Laura Palmer (performed by actress Sheryl Lee) and abruptly their cult hit crime drama, “Twin Peaks,” which first aired in 1990, was born.
Each Hazel Drew and Laura Palmer have been small-town beauties whose murders uncovered the ugly misdeeds of rich, distinguished locals. Each had secret lovers and sordid relationships. However whereas the “Twin Peaks” homicide is finally solved, Drew’s killers have been by no means revealed till now, in response to a brand new guide, “Murder at Teal’s Pond” by “Twin Peaks” followers David Bushman and Mark Givens (Thomas & Mercer), out now.
“Investigating a 113-year-old chilly case wasn’t simple. We do, nonetheless imagine we’ve uncovered the murderers,” write the authors.
“The answer,” they declare, “is explosive.”
On the evening of July 10, 1908, a bunch of youngsters pitched their tent near Teal’s Pond in Sand Lake, NY, and deliberate to fish and squirrel hunt by day, eat and drink by evening.
The subsequent morning, one of many boys noticed one thing floating within the stagnant water: A corpse face down with arms outstretched and solely the pinnacle and shoulders seen.
“Massive black crescent-shaped hair combs with rhinestones and a ‘rat’ — a half moon formed accent used to plump up pompadours — remained clasped firmly in place on her matted mane,” the authors write.
A high-crowned black straw hat adorned with massive black ostrich plumes was discovered near the pond’s edge. The milliner’s mark had been ripped out and pinned to the hat was a pair of black, wrist-length gloves.
When the physique was eliminated, its pores and skin was shriveled and as “black as midnight,” the face frozen in a grimace. Decomposition of the physique was so superior, medical doctors have been indecisive about how she died. Even Drew’s father couldn’t ensure it was his personal daughter till he was proven her hatpin and broach the next day.
The coroners’ inquest dominated demise by suicide, however nobody was shopping for that.
A charismatic and hanging younger magnificence, Hazel Drew labored from the age of 14 as a home servant for among the most distinguished Republican males in Troy. They included Thomas W. Hislop, town’s first-ever treasurer, who left his job amid a monetary scandal, and John H. Tupper, a high-ranking member of the Retail Coal Sellers’ Affiliation chargeable for crushing the native labor motion of miners searching for increased wages.
Working at these properties, Drew stepped right into a “cauldron of crime, intercourse, glamour and corruption,” write the authors.
Though Drew earned a modest $4.50 per week, she was in a position to purchase custom-made attire, fancy hats and Cuban heels long-established for dancing. She beloved to buy, dine in fancy eating places and journey to New York Metropolis, Boston and Windfall.
“Hazel lived a life full of secrets and techniques, mysteries and contradictions,” write the authors.
Even her personal dad and mom knew little about her actions till they opened a bundle of letters and postcards in a trunk she left behind — missives from admirers and secret beaux declaring their love and obsession with their daughter. Then, a New York World reporter overlaying the homicide discovered a hatbox full of pictures, payments and receipts that confirmed Drew had as soon as taken “French feminine tablets” to help in sustaining menstrual cycles — and induce a miscarriage.
Jarvis O’Brien, district legal professional for Rensselaer County, was known as in to analyze. He leaned on his number-one deputy and shut pal, Detective Duncan Kaye, “an ardent soldier” within the native Republican Occasion. Additionally on board have been two detectives energetic in Republican politics as effectively.
Pressured by the general public and nationwide press, investigators interviewed suspects on what appeared like a day by day foundation, however the case remained unsolved — even after two witnesses got here ahead with a compelling story.
William and Elizabeth Hoffay informed detectives they have been driving their carriage previous Teal’s Pond on the night of July 7, after they encountered one other carriage out that evening — a elaborate, custom-built coach with a good-looking colt, which implied luxurious unusual to that space — “metropolis of us.” The driving force turned to keep away from making eye contact and there was one thing at the back of the rig, the Hoffays mentioned, however they couldn’t make out what it was. Because the couple appeared again on the pond, they noticed one other determine lurking on the far shore — exactly the place Hazel’s hat and glasses have been later discovered.
Police heard the couple’s story however didn’t examine for per week. Finally, Detective Powers discovered the title of the suspected coach driver: Fred W. Schatzle, an embalmer for the native undertaker and likewise a Republican politician. Schatzle, it turned out, had telephoned the livery on July 6, requesting a horse and carriage for a pal, William Cushing, the Republican committeeman for the Eleventh Ward. Cushing admitted to police that Schatzle helped him safe a carriage to take him to Sand Lake on the evening of the homicide. And each males knew Hazel Drew.
Despite the fact that the Hoffays informed detectives they might establish the lads they noticed, they have been by no means proven photos of Schatzle or Cushing. The only newspaper to report on the lead and publish Schatzle’s title was The Each day Press — Troy’s solely Democratic day by day paper. In a city dominated by Republicans, the 2 suspects have been rapidly absolved, and the case was rapidly dropped.
For the authors of “Homicide at Teal’s Pond,” this was sufficient to achieve their conclusions:
“After 5 years of intensive analysis and deliberation, now we have concluded that Hazel Drew was murdered by William Cushing and Fred Schatzle – and shielded from justice by William Powers and presumably his fellow detective Duncan Kaye,” they write.
However what was their motive? Have been Cushing and Schatzle contracted to do the soiled deed, and, if that’s the case, who employed them? May it have been former treasurer Thomas W. Hislop or coal man John H. Tupper? May Hazel have heard one thing scandalous whereas within the make use of of those highly effective males or have turn out to be romantically entangled with certainly one of them who now wished to finish it?
“Any of those males might have been motivated to have Hazel killed,” the authors write. “None have been severely investigated on the time. All had ties to the Republican Occasion and it appears simpler to just accept that O’Brien and/or sure of his detectives would have been motivated to cowl up the exercise of Cushing and Schatzle if they’d been appearing for somebody with affect in Troy — particularly somebody within the celebration. However it’s also conceivable that they have been defending Schatzle and Cushing merely due to secrets and techniques in regards to the interior workings of the celebration that the 2 younger males have been aware about.”
Alas, the deepest secrets and techniques about Hazel Drew could also be buried without end. However, by revealing Schatzle and Cushing’s function in her homicide, the authors write, “We hope that her spirit now rests in peace.”
One factor is for certain — particularly for followers of “Twin Peaks,” which turned certainly one of TV’s most enduring classics, all due to a grandmother’s tales of a homicide within the woods.
“Hazel Drew was, in life, a ghost,” the authors write. “In demise — a celebrity.”