NY NY - Joseph Crater, 41, & Sally Lou Ritz, 22, New York City, 6 Aug 1930

Discussion in 'Pre-1960's Missing' started by Richard, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Joseph Crater and Sally Lou Ritz. Missing 6 Aug 1930: 75 Years Ago...

    Joseph Force Crater
    Missing since August 6, 1930 from New York City, New York County, New York.



    Classification: Missing

    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: 1889
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 41 years oldHeight and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 6'0; 180 lbs
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White male. Brown hair, mixed with gray, thin at the top, parted in the middle and "slicked" down. Brown eyes. The tip of his right index finger is somewhat mutilated due to having been crushed.
    Clothing: Last seen wearing a dark-brown,double-breasted suit with thin green stripes, pearl gray spats, a high white linen collar with a detachable choker, a panama hat or one of a similar style, wore tortoise-shell glasses for reading, yellow gold Masonic ring somewhat worn, a yellow gold square-shaped wristwatch with a leather strap.
    Dentals: Dentures for upper and lower jaws.


    Circumstances of Disappearance

    Crater was an associate justice on the New York State Supreme Court in 1930. Many people believe that he was appointed to the court because of his involvement with New York City's Tammany Hall Democratic organization. Crater had a scandalous history that came to light after 1930, particularly due to his association with several organized crime members and a few suspicious financial dealings.

    Crater withdrew $20,000 from the bank at approximately the same time he was appointed as interim justice to the State Supreme Court in April 1930. That amount is close to his yearly salary at the time and was considered the standard amount earned for Tammany Hall positions. Crater apparently used the money to become the receiver for a bankrupt hotel in New York City. He sold the building later in the year to a mortgage firm for $75,000. The city purchased the hotel two months later for nearly $3,000,000. The building was demolished due to a street-widening project. Crater was married to his former client Stella Wheeler, whom he wed in 1917 after her divorce. He was infamous for his affairs, although many described their relationship as "devoted." Crater and Wheeler were residing in their summer house in Belgrade Lakes, Maine in June 1930 after the courts recessed. Cratee received a phone call in Maine in late July and told his wife he had to travel to New York City to "straighten those fellows out." He returned to Maine by August 1, afer apparently stopping in Atlantic City, New Jersey with one of his girlfriends.

    Crater traveled to New York City again on August 3 and stayed at the 5th Avenue apartment he owned with his wife. Crater reportedly spent two hours in his office during the morning hours of August 6. He removed several files in locked briefcases and brought the papers back to his residence. Crater's assistant told authorities that his employer cashed $5,000 worth of checks later in the day before dismissing him.

    Crater purchased one ticket for the Broadway performance of Dancing Partner at the Belasco Theatre later that night. He arrived at Billy Has' Chophouse on West 45th Street during the evening hours and met his friend, attorney William Klein. Crater's girlfriend, showgirl Sally Lou Ritz, was also at the restaurant. Witnesses stated that Crater departed from the restaurant at approximately 9:10 PM, which was after the start time of the play he planned to attend. Crater hailed a taxi on West 45th Street and disappeared. He has never been heard from again.

    Wheeler became concerned about her husband when she failed to contact him by August 16, 1930, ten days after he was last seen. Authorities initially believed Crater would return to New York in short order and did not begin an investigation. A search was initiated on August 25, when Crater failed to appear at the opening of the courts. A grand jury was convened in October 1930, nearly two months after Crater's disappearance. Substantial evidence was collected during the investigation, but the jury members could not decide if Crater was deceased.

    Wheeler sued several insurance companies in 1937, seven years after her husband vanished. She claimed that he had been murdered by members of organized crime. The companies won the lawsuits, but Wheeler continued to maintain that Crater was a victim of foul play due to his political and criminal connections.

    Crater was declared legally deceased in 1939. Rumors persisted that he was killed or disappeared of his accord and was living outside of the United States. Crater's girlfriend, Ritz, vanished several weeks after he was last seen in 1930. Many people theorized that Ritz was aware of illegal improprieties and was murdered in an effort to silence her. Others speculated that Ritz joined Crater in an unknown location and was alive and well. She was never located.

    Crater was declared legally dead by the State of New York on June 6, 1939. Crater and Ritz's cases are no longer under investigation, but their stories will last for decades to come.



    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

    NYPD Missing Person's Squad
    212-473-2042
    Source Information:
    Reader's Digest
    Hardini's Place


    Sally Lou Ritz

    Missing since August/September of 1930 from New York City, New York County, New York.
    Classification: Missing



    Vital Statistics

    Date Of Birth: 1908
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 22 years old

    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female.


    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Ritz worked as a showgirl in the New York City area in 1930. She was romantically involved with Joseph Crater, a married associate justice on the New York State Supreme Court, at the time. Crater had political and criminal connections, mainly due to his involvment in the city's Tammany Hall Democratic organization.

    Ritz met Crater and another friend at Billy Has' Chophouse on West 45th Street during the evening hours of August 6, 1930. Crater departed from the restaurant later that night and disappeared. His case has never been solved and has led to widespread speculation about his fate.

    Ritz vanished several weeks after Crater was last seen. She has never been heard from again. Authorities were never able to determine if Ritz slipped away with Crater or if both were victims of foul play. Some people believe that Ritz was aware of criminal information that involved Crater and was murdered as a result.

    Ritz's case has never received as much attention as that of Crater's unsolved disappearance, and she was never located. The investigations into both Crater and Ritz's whereabouts have long been closed, but their stories will live on for decades to come.



    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

    New York City Police Department
    Missing Person's Squad
    212-473-2042
    Source Information:
    Reader's Digest


    Link:
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/840dfny.html
     
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  3. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    Police may be on the brink of finally finding the remains of Judge Joseph Crater - and possibly solving the most enduring mystery in New York City history, investigators said yesterday.
    A letter probably penned more than half a century ago has pinpointed a spot under the Coney Island boardwalk where Crater - last seen leaving a Times Square watering hole 75 years ago - is buried, they said.
    Detectives said everything the woman wrote so far has been corroborated.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/338782p-289273c.html
     
  4. lostfaith

    lostfaith Lost my mind too!

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    very interesting Mysteriew! I love it when old crimes are solved. Wish more people would leave letters like that so there would be closure. I know the families of victims dont like the word "closure" and it isnt closure for them, but for us nosy crime people it is closure. :dance:
     
  5. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    The woman, Stella Ferrucci-Good, of Bellerose, died on April 2.

    The woman's note says her husband, Robert Good, a city police officer; another officer, Charles Burns; and his cab driver brother, Frank Burns, were responsible for Crater's death and burying him under the boardwalk in Coney Island.

    Crater was declared legally dead in 1939. The police department closed his case in 1979.
    http://www.wnbc.com/news/4871820/detail.html
     
  6. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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    When the aquarium was built along the Boardwalk in the '50's, the remains of some 5 people were discovered. These remains are to be checked to see if they could be those of Judge Crater ...
     
  7. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    Stella Ferrucci-Good's hand-written letters recount her late husband Robert Good's tale of going out for drinks with NYPD cop Charles Burns and his brother Frank, a cabbie.

    Although it is unclear when Good tipped glasses with the brothers, he sometime later told his wife their chilling story.

    It was Frank Burns' cab that Judge Crater, either by chance or design, jumped into on the fateful night, according to the story. Burns went on to pick up a pair of unnamed men and drove the group to the boardwalk. There, two other unnamed men waited, and the four killed and buried Crater under the boardwalk.

    The notes do not implicate either of the Burns brothers in the killing. They also make clear that Good did not participate in or witness the slaying - and the entire account was told to him in a bar.

    The possible new revelation prompted the NYPD's cold case detectives to review the case, officially closed in 1979. They're also pulling all cases of bodies found in Brooklyn around the time Crater went missing in August 1930. Police said reports that they are checking skeletal remains found decades ago near what is now the New York Aquarium are false.

    Cops have questioned Charles Burns' elderly widow gently without telling her that her husband was mentioned in connection with the disappearance.

    The cop served 20 years on the force before retiring in 1946. Much of his career was spent in Coney Island's 60th Precinct.

    If Crater's remains ever are found, forensic investigators will be hard-pressed to prove it. They would need to compare DNA samples taken from remains with living relatives. An NYPD spokesman said yesterday Crater did not have any known living relatives.
    http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/338990p-289484c.html
     
  8. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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  9. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    There are some new leads in this case. See "Lost but not Forgotten" in this Forum for a new column.
     
  10. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    On 25 July 2005, I posted the following in the Cold Cases Forum of Websleuths...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Joseph Crater and Sally Lou Ritz. Missing 6 Aug 1930: 75 Years Ago...


    Joseph Force Crater
    Missing since August 6, 1930 from New York City, New York County, New York
    Classification: Missing

    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: 1889
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 41 years old

    Height and Weight at Time of Disappearance: 6'0; 180 lbs
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White male. Brown hair, mixed with gray, thin at the top, parted in the middle and "slicked" down. Brown eyes. The tip of his right index finger is somewhat mutilated due to having been crushed.
    Clothing: Last seen wearing a dark-brown,double-breasted suit with thin green stripes, pearl gray spats, a high white linen collar with a detachable choker, a panama hat or one of a similar style, wore tortoise-shell glasses for reading, yellow gold Masonic ring somewhat worn, a yellow gold square-shaped wristwatch with a leather strap.
    Dentals: Dentures for upper and lower jaws.


    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Crater was an associate justice on the New York State Supreme Court in 1930. Many people believe that he was appointed to the court because of his involvement with New York City's Tammany Hall Democratic organization. Crater had a scandalous history that came to light after 1930, particularly due to his association with several organized crime members and a few suspicious financial dealings.

    Crater withdrew $20,000 from the bank at approximately the same time he was appointed as interim justice to the State Supreme Court in April 1930. That amount is close to his yearly salary at the time and was considered the standard amount earned for Tammany Hall positions. Crater apparently used the money to become the receiver for a bankrupt hotel in New York City. He sold the building later in the year to a mortgage firm for $75,000. The city purchased the hotel two months later for nearly $3,000,000. The building was demolished due to a street-widening project. Crater was married to his former client Stella Wheeler, whom he wed in 1917 after her divorce. He was infamous for his affairs, although many described their relationship as "devoted." Crater and Wheeler were residing in their summer house in Belgrade Lakes, Maine in June 1930 after the courts recessed. Cratee received a phone call in Maine in late July and told his wife he had to travel to New York City to "straighten those fellows out." He returned to Maine by August 1, afer apparently stopping in Atlantic City, New Jersey with one of his girlfriends.

    Crater traveled to New York City again on August 3 and stayed at the 5th Avenue apartment he owned with his wife. Crater reportedly spent two hours in his office during the morning hours of August 6. He removed several files in locked briefcases and brought the papers back to his residence. Crater's assistant told authorities that his employer cashed $5,000 worth of checks later in the day before dismissing him.

    Crater purchased one ticket for the Broadway performance of Dancing Partner at the Belasco Theatre later that night. He arrived at Billy Has' Chophouse on West 45th Street during the evening hours and met his friend, attorney William Klein. Crater's girlfriend, showgirl Sally Lou Ritz, was also at the restaurant. Witnesses stated that Crater departed from the restaurant at approximately 9:10 PM, which was after the start time of the play he planned to attend. Crater hailed a taxi on West 45th Street and disappeared. He has never been heard from again.

    Wheeler became concerned about her husband when she failed to contact him by August 16, 1930, ten days after he was last seen. Authorities initially believed Crater would return to New York in short order and did not begin an investigation. A search was initiated on August 25, when Crater failed to appear at the opening of the courts. A grand jury was convened in October 1930, nearly two months after Crater's disappearance. Substantial evidence was collected during the investigation, but the jury members could not decide if Crater was deceased.

    Wheeler sued several insurance companies in 1937, seven years after her husband vanished. She claimed that he had been murdered by members of organized crime. The companies won the lawsuits, but Wheeler continued to maintain that Crater was a victim of foul play due to his political and criminal connections.

    Crater was declared legally deceased in 1939. Rumors persisted that he was killed or disappeared of his accord and was living outside of the United States. Crater's girlfriend, Ritz, vanished several weeks after he was last seen in 1930. Many people theorized that Ritz was aware of illegal improprieties and was murdered in an effort to silence her. Others speculated that Ritz joined Crater in an unknown location and was alive and well. She was never located.
    Crater was declared legally dead by the State of New York on June 6, 1939. Crater and Ritz's cases are no longer under investigation, but their stories will last for decades to come.


    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

    NYPD Missing Person's Squad 212-473-2042

    Source Information
    Reader's Digest
    Hardini's Place
    ---------------------------------------

    Sally Lou Ritz

    Missing since August/September of 1930 from New York City, New York County, New York.
    Classification: Missing


    Vital Statistics
    Date Of Birth: 1908
    Age at Time of Disappearance: 22 years old
    Distinguishing Characteristics: White female.


    Circumstances of Disappearance
    Ritz worked as a showgirl in the New York City area in 1930. She was romantically involved with Joseph Crater, a married associate justice on the New York State Supreme Court, at the time. Crater had political and criminal connections, mainly due to his involvment in the city's Tammany Hall Democratic organization.

    Ritz met Crater and another friend at Billy Has' Chophouse on West 45th Street during the evening hours of August 6, 1930. Crater departed from the restaurant later that night and disappeared. His case has never been solved and has led to widespread speculation about his fate.

    Ritz vanished several weeks after Crater was last seen. She has never been heard from again. Authorities were never able to determine if Ritz slipped away with Crater or if both were victims of foul play. Some people believe that Ritz was aware of criminal information that involved Crater and was murdered as a result.

    Ritz's case has never received as much attention as that of Crater's unsolved disappearance, and she was never located. The investigations into both Crater and Ritz's whereabouts have long been closed, but their stories will live on for decades to come.



    If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:

    New York City Police Department
    Missing Person's Squad
    212-473-2042
    Source Information:
    Reader's Digest


    Link:
    http://www.doenetwork.us/cases/840dfny.html
     
  11. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    bumping this old case up...
     
  12. meggilyweggily

    meggilyweggily Member

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  13. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    I searched several times and could not find a thread on this case. Being as famous as it was a lot of you have probably heard this before but it isn't any less baffling than it was 78 yrs ago.

    Associate Supreme Court Judge Joseph Force Crater disappeared Aug. 3rd, 1930. A few weeks later his married lover, Sally Ritz vanished.

    Crater had been involved in some shady deals and had ties to organized crime. He had gone to NYC on business, went out to dinner with Ritz and her husband. Both claim they saw Crater get into a cab. He was not seen again. The links below documents some of his activities leading up to the disapperence and some of the findings his wife came across.

    In 2005, the wife of a former NYPD officer died and left an envelope stating her husband and his friend murdered Crater and buried him where the NY Aquarium is now located. Police did confirm skeletal remains were found there in the 50's when the site was being excavated but they were quickly reburied.

    The story is a lot more complicated than what I just wrote. The links provide a lot more information:


    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/c/crater_joseph.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Crater

    http://www.nydailynews.com/archives/news/2005/08/19/2005-08-19_judge_crater_found___dead_ga.html

    http://www.prairieghosts.com/crater.html
     
  14. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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  15. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    I swear! I typed Joseph Crater every which way and nothing came up. Thanks!
     
  16. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    bumping case up due to recent interest in another post.
     
  17. pixies

    pixies Former Member

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    Crater was all sorts of badass. I just don't know what to think about his case.
     
  18. pixies

    pixies Former Member

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    The search thing has been wonky for me to lately.
    Don't worry about it.
     
  19. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    Thanks Richard. I was going to delete the thread I started but apparently can't or don't know how.

    This fascinates me. I love the really cold cases like this one and Dorthy( I think) who disappeared in NYC in 1910.

    Crater's actions leading up to his disappearence are very interesting. Cleaning out the files, having 60,000 worth of checks cashed, the appearence of the life insurance policy, checks, etc in his wife's desk. He knew he had gotten himself in trouble with the business deals and the ties to the mob so did he plan all this to avoid being killed? Perhaps Sally knew all about it and ran away too to be with him OR the mob got ahold of her and tried to make her tell them where Crater was; she didn't know and they killed her.
    For once I am actually leaning toward the running away scenario. It makes a lot of sense in this case.
     
  20. shadowangel

    shadowangel Black cats consider me unlucky.

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  21. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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