Arrow-right Camera


Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sun., March 31, 2013, midnight

From our archives, 100 years ago

A mystery surrounding the death of Myrtle Moode, 22, a stenographer, was solved – but only partially.

An autopsy showed traces of chloroform in her stomach, with indications that she “drank the poison by mistake.” The prosecutor abandoned theories of foul play.

The confusion around her identity was also cleared up when authorities discovered that the young woman had been married twice, once to a man she divorced soon afterward, and again to Claude L. Laws, of Spokane.

Laws worked for the Indian Service at Miles, Wash., but Moode had to stay in Spokane because there was no place for her to live on the reservation. She went under her maiden name in Spokane. She worked as a stenographer at the Yakima Brewing Co. in Spokane.

A number of questions remained. How could she have taken chloroform “by mistake”? A friend said she was never sorrowful, despondent or suicidal. But if she didn’t take the chloroform herself, could it have been administered by an unknown enemy? Police didn’t think so, but they did not say why.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1976: The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Karen Ann Quinlan, who was in a persistent vegetative state, could be disconnected from her respirator. Quinlan, who remained unconscious, died in 1985.

Click here to comment on this story »