The Sausage King Murderer

Article Covers
Chicago Heights, Cook, Illinois, United States
Year range


The Murder

On May 1, 1897, Louise Luetgert disappeared. Although no body was found, Chicago police arrested her husband, Adolph, the owner of a large sausage factory, and charged him with murder. The eyes of the world were still on Chicago following the success of the World's Columbian Exposition, and the Luetgert case, with its missing victim, once-prosperous suspect, and all manner of gruesome theories regarding the disposal of the corpse, turned into one of the first media-fueled celebrity trials in American history.

Newspapers fought one another for scoops, people across the country claimed to have seen the missing woman alive, and each new clue led to fresh rounds of speculation about the crime. Meanwhile, sausage sales plummeted nationwide as rumors circulated that Luetgert had destroyed his wife's body in one of his factory's meat grinders.

Alchemy of Bones by Robert Loerzel

The case is described in full detail in the book Alchemy of Bones by Robert Loerzel
Book at
Book at Google
Alchemy of Bones Website

Other Books Discussing the Case

The Use of Forensic Anthropology By Robert B. Pickering
The Justice Story: True Tales of Murder, Mystery, Mayhem By Joseph McNamara
The Principles of Judicial Proof By John Henry Wigmore
Homicide by the Rich and Famous By Gini Graham Scott
The Casebook of Forensic Detection By Colin Evans

Other Links

Dark Destinations
Documentary Video on the Ghost of Louisa Luetgert
Prairie Ghosts
Blogged at This Old Pallet

The Murder in the NY Times

Date Article
May 19, 1897, Wednesday ANOTHER LUETGERT MURDER?; Chicago Packer Arrested for Wife Murder Suspected of a Crime Eighteen Years Ago
July 21, 1897, Wednesday

THE LUETGERT CASE.; Story that the Woman Alleged to Have Been Killed Is Alive Not Believed

September 3, 1897, Wednesday

LUETGERT'S TRIAL FOR MURDER; Polack Workman Tells About Preparing the Sausage Vat and Cleaning It Up

September 5, 1897, Wednesday

LUETGERT MURDER TRIAL; Mrs. Christine Feldt Produces Letters the Defendant Wrote to Her from Jail. SKULL BONE FOR EVIDENCE A Girl Says She Saw the Luetgerts Going to the Sausage Factory -- Expert Opinion on the Destruction of a Body

September 21, 1897, Wednesday THE LUETGERT MURDER TRIAL.; State's Attorney Asks for More Money to Carry on the Case -- Witnesses for Defense
September 26, 1897, Wednesday

LUETGERT MURDER TRIAL; Mary Siemering, Servant in the Sausage Maker's House, on the Witness Stand. SEVERE CROSS-EXAMINATION Admits the Luetgerts Quarreled -- Affirms that the Supposed Victim Told Her She Was Going Away -- Alleged Relations with the Accused Denied

September 28, 1897, Wednesday LUETGERT MURDER TRIAL; The Accused Man's Partner Takes the Stand to Explain Suspicious Circumstances. USE OF THE CAUSTIC POTASH The Witness Said It Was Bought to Make Soft Soap and Not to Dissolve Mrs. Luetgert's Body -- A Crush at the Trial
October 12, 1897, Wednesday

LUETGERT MURDER TRIAL.; Defense Rests Its Case -- Assistant State's Attorney McEwen Begins Argument for the State

October 14, 1897, Wednesday

LUETGERT MURDER TRIAL.; Attorney Phalen Talks All Day for the Defense

October 15, 1897, Wednesday LUETGERT MURDER TRIAL.; Argument for the Defense by Mr. Phalen and ex-Judge Vincent
October 22, 1897, Wednesday

LUETGERT JURY DISAGREES; Nine for Conviction and Three for Acquittal, and Neither Side Willing to Yield. LONG MURDER TRIAL ENDED Counsel for the Chicago Sausage Maker to Ask To-day that He Be Admitted to Bail Pending His Second Trial

November 24, 1897, Wednesday

JUDGE GARY TO TRY LUETGERT.; He Presided at the Haymarket Square Anarchists' Trials in Chicago

February 10, 1898, Wednesday

LUETGERT IS CONVICTED; Chicago Sausagemaker Sentenced to Penitentiary for Life for Murder of His Wife. LAUGHED AT THE VERDICT Said It Is Not in Accordance with the Evidence and Is Confident a New Trial Will Be Granted