NY NY - Katherine Hull, 22, Lebanon Springs, 2 April, 1936

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Pettibon Junction, May 26, 2015.

  1. Pettibon Junction

    Pettibon Junction Active Member

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    I am Currently reading Michael C. Dooling's "Clueless In New England." There are active threads for two of the cases that book covers (the disappearances of Paula Welden from VT and Connie Smith from CT in 1946 and 1952, respectively) but none for the third victim profiled, Katherine Hull.

    Hull, a 22-year-old stenographer, had arrived to spend the summer of 1936 with her grandmother in Lebanon Springs and while stretching her legs with a walk shortly after arriving, vanished. She took no extra money or belongings and planned to return in time for an early dinner with her family. She was last seen getting into a car with a man and woman. Two other motorists came forward to say they had given her a ride that day, confirming that Hull was hitchhiking in the Lebanon Springs area and suggesting that she perhaps planned to take a day trip to downtown Albany.

    In December of 1943, two hunters came across a skeleton while deer hunting in the woods surrounding Hancock, MA. Dental records confirmed that the bones belonged to Katherine Hull but due to advanced decomposition, no cause of death could be determined. Police eventually wrote Hull's death off as having likely resulted from a case of amnesia and exposure and thusly closed the case. (At this point, it's worth noting that, contrary to this belief, Katherine had zero history of fugue states or organic mental illness and, by all accounts, was described as a mature, sober young woman dedicated to her work and her faith.)

    Curiously, when Hull's body was found, her skull had been placed at eye level in a nearby tree. This was later explained when another local man, Francis Van Slyck, confessed that he had found the body earlier in the season while deer hunting and had placed the skull in the tree so he could retrieve it on his way back. However, he claims that he got sidetracked and couldn't find the location again. It's unknown whether he offered any reason for not contacting authorities immediately upon his return to civilization and his story raises a ton of red flags. The extent of the police's investigation into Van Slyck's background remains uncertain.

    Unfortunately, police and coroner records for Katherine's case have been lost, having fallen victim to one of many periodic bureaucratic purgings over the years, and the chances of a resolution are slim. Still, every victim, whether officially listed as such or not, is worthy of remembrance.

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