An Unsolved Mass Murder that Stunned the Nation – the Villisca Axe Murder

For those who don’t live in Iowa and those Iowans who may never have visited, this is the Villisca Ax Murder House, located in Villisca, Iowa. One of the most violent crimes in U.S. history took place here. There were 8 victims total, 6 were children, all bludgeoned to death with an ax while they slept. Josiah Moore (43), Sarah Montgomery Moore (43), Herman Moore (11), Katherine Moore (9), Boyd Moore (7), Paul Moore (5) and two neighbor children, Lena Stillinger (11) and Ina Stillinger (8).

On June 9, 1912, after attending evening church services, the family returned home around 10 p.m., bringing with them two neighbor children who were spending the night with their friend, Katherine. All 8 people were found dead the next morning, their heads bludgeoned with an ax.

The two Stillinger children slept in a room on the main floor and were unrecognizable. Ina Stillinger slept closest to the wall and lay in a natural sleeping position. Her nightgown had been undisturbed. Her sister, Lena, was found with her nightgown slid up and no underwear. Her body lay in a peculiar position. Neither girl had been raped (in the conventional sense). The girls could not be identified but bibles on the nightstand had their names inside. An ax leaned against the wall. Near the ax, lying on the floor was a slab of bacon weighing around two pounds.

Going directly up the stairs, you walk out into the bedroom of Josiah and Sarah. Both bludgeoned with Joe more than Sarah. Off that bedroom is another bedroom where the Moore’s 4 children slept.  All bludgeoned to death.

It was observed that each person was struck twenty to thirty times, being hit first with the blunt side of the ax and then, after everyone was dead or unconscious, the killer returned to each body and struck with the sharp edge of the ax.

Whodunit?  Check back daily as I walk you through the possible suspects of an unsolved crime and you decide.