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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Suitors remain focus of investigation into woman’s death from strychnine

Suitors remain focus of investigation into Rosa Kempf’s death from strychnine, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 26, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Suitors remain focus of investigation into Rosa Kempf’s death from strychnine, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported on Dec. 26, 1918. (Spokesman-Review archives)

The “sensational developments” in the Rosa Kempf strychnine poisoning case, promised by the Spokane Daily Chronicle a day earlier, turned out to merely deepen the mystery.

Police learned that H.M. Delaney, her would-be suitor, took her on a shopping spree to several downtown department stores and paid for virtually a whole new outfit of clothing. She bought a suit, underclothing, a hat and other articles of apparel. This happened just a few days before her death.

This does not fit with the assertion by her father and sister that that she wanted nothing to do with Delaney and was committed to marrying her sailor fiancé, Karl Reiniger.

The other new development was the news that she had nasal and catarrhal trouble, which she had neglected for too long. An eye specialist told her that it had affected her eyesight and was incurable.

However, the specialist also said that when he told her the news, she seemed interested, but not despondent.

From the flu beat: City Heath Officer Dr. J.B. Anderson said that the epidemic is “practically under control.” Yet he was not willing to take any chances. He was still banning holiday gatherings through New Year’s Day.

He said the situation was not in “any better shape now than it was when the first ban was lifted, and therefore I do not intend to endanger human life as long as there is a possibility of it.”

Three new deaths from flu were reported, bringing the total to at least 407.

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