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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

The passengers on the Northern Pacific’s No. 4 train near Cle Elum, Washington, witnessed a shocking sight: a “nearly nude” woman leaping to her death from a bridge into the Yakima River.

Witnesses on the train said they first noticed Anetta Browning, 24, when she started taking off her clothing. The train was still moving when she jumped from the wagon bridge, wearing apparently only a petticoat, which caught on the bridge and then gave way.

The train stopped and the passengers got off to see the woman floating downstream. She sank three times and then disappeared in the fast-flowing waters. Attempts to rescue her were unsuccessful.

Authorities said Browning had come to Ellensburg some time ago and had attracted plenty of attention by “becoming temporarily insane and attempting to kill a man” in the hotel where she was staying. She told police that she had gotten the blues and drank two quarts of whiskey. She had recently been released from jail.

She also said she was married to a man in Vancouver but had been traveling the country by herself. She was described as “rather good looking,” but mentally unbalanced.

Her clothing was found on the bridge, along with a note in which she said that “life is not worth living.”

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