Adolph Louis Luetgert – 1897

By | November 12, 2016

Luertgert claimed that the bones belonged to animals


Adolph Louis Luetgert at the time of his arrest


A sausage-maker by trade, Adolph Luetgert (born in Gütersloh, Westphalia, Germany on 27 December 1845) was also a ladies’ man. His reputation in that quarter almost equalled his reputation for making German sausage. He had several women on the go and even had a bed placed in his factory, A.L. Luetgert Sausage & Packing Company, so he did not have to be distracted from work for long. His long-suffering second wife Louisa Bicknese (born 12 January 1855) whom he had married on 18 January 1878, was aware of her husband’s philandering. She ignored his philanderings when he was discreet but he became less discreet about his infidelities.

On 1 May 1897 Louisa disappeared. Luetgert told their two children, Louis (aged 11) and Elmer Paul (aged 5), that he had hired a private detective to find their mother but other relatives were dissatisfied and went to the police. They searched the factory and discovered, in one of the vats used to make sausages, bone, teeth and two engraved rings that had belonged to Louisa. Luertgert claimed that the bones belonged to animals but tests proved their provenance was human.

He was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder. Several of his mistresses came forward to testify against him and their revelations made the story front-page news in Chicago. Luetgert continued to deny having anything to do with his wife’s death but one lover said that he had spoken to her of crushing his wife. The police believed that the sausage-maker had stabbed Louisa to death and then put her body into a vat.


601-629 Diversey Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, USA


Saturday 1 May 1897


Luetgert went on trial in August 1897 but the jury was hung. A second trial was held in January 1898 and this time he was convicted and sentenced to life in jail. He died in Joliet Prison in July 1899, still maintaining his innocence.


Luetgert was a twin.

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