A gruesome and horrific event took place in the late 1800s at a sausage factory in Lakeview, a German neighborhood in Chicago. Adolph Louis Luetgert, the owner of the factory, was married to Louisa Bicknese of Kankakee in 1878.
However, Luetgert reportedly had insatiable sexual tastes and had numerous affairs with other women, including Louisa’s maid and a nearby barkeeper.
In 1897, Louisa had had enough and Luetgert was planning to marry a wealthy widow to ease his financial troubles. On March 24, 1897, Luetgert strangled his wife and dumped her body into a vat filled with quicklime and acid. When that failed to dissolve all of the flesh from her bones, he placed what remained into a sausage-curing vat and turned up the heat to 200 degrees. He then threw the remaining parts into the boiler furnace in the engine room.
When relatives reported Louisa missing, police found a slime-like substance and glue in the factory. After opening one of the vats, they found it full of a brownish fluid, along with pieces of bone and two gold rings, one of which had the initials “L.L.” on it. Luetgert was shortly after arrested for the murder of his wife.
He was tried twice, with the first trial ending in a hung jury. However, in the second trial, he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Luetgert died of a heart attack in the state penitentiary in Joliet in 1899. For years afterward, children in the neighborhood would sing a disturbing song about the event.
Despite the gruesome nature of the crime, it serves as a reminder of the importance of justice and the consequences of heinous actions.