Mrs. Michael Cook, Obituary/Death NoticePorter County obituaries and death notices . . . .

Mrs. Michael Cook

Her Husband Supposed to Be the Author of the Crime -- His Sudden Disappearance.

Mrs. Michael Kaholske, a Polish woman, better known as Mrs. Michael Cook among the English speaking people, was found dead on the kitchen floor of her residence last Thursday morning at 8 o'clock with a ghastly wound in her left side in the region of the heart and a pool of blood saturated a square foot or more of the floor upon which she lay. She is about 25 years old and has no children. She resided with her husband in what is known as the Bottjack neighborhood, five miles southwest of Michigan City, between there and Otis, on a farm of forty acres owned by her husband. The house is a sort of shanty, with but two or three rooms. Her husband has been working as a section hand on the Lake Shore road and has not been at home except at intervals for a considerable length of time. He was home last Sunday, returning to his work that evening, and so far as the neighbors are aware he has not been to the bootjack settlement since that day. The Cook home is within twenty yards of Jacob Bootjack's home, and John Paschack, a relative by marriage of the dead woman, also resides near the Cook homestead. The murder was undoubtedly committed some time during the night. John Paschack, one of the neighbors, says that he say Mr. Cook passing his house that afternoon on the road toward Otis. Other neighbors saw her during the day.

Friday morning Bootjack saw cows in the corn on the Cook farm and he went to the house. The doors of the unpretentious building were standing open and Mr. Bootjack entered the house. He saw nothing unusual until he stepped into the kitchen door. There Mrs. Cook lay on her right side not far from the door, her feet almost touching the steps that leads to the kitchen. She had no clothing on save a pair of drawers with a waist attached therete. The wound had evidently been made while she was lying on the floor. It is the theory that she let some one in the house. Then she was pushed down through the kitchen door and shot as she fell. There was also a wound above her left ear. The condition of the bed showed that she had retired, and her dress and other clothing were lying on a chair near the bed in the front room.

When the news of the tragedy spread a great crowd collected, and by the noon hour fully three hundred people were at the house, but up to that time the coroner had not been summoned or a step taken to institute an investigation. The people simply stood around and stared at the corpse, and it was not until P. H. McNulty and M. Levine, who had been attending a sale near Otis, passed the place, that a blanket was thrown over the dead woman and an effort made to get a doctor or a coroner. The people of the neighborhood assume an air of mystery. No one knows anything, not even the nearest neighbors. One of the neighbors heard a dog bark about eight or nine o'clock at night -- that is all they know. No one heard a gunshot, and although a professional examination of the woundhas not been made up to a late hour, the opinion is that it was made by a pistol, though it looks large enough to have been made with a knife. Some of the neighbors shake their heads ominously and say that Mrs. Cook and her husband quarreled frequently. The husband was sent for as soon as the wife's dead body was discovered. Dr. Mullen went to the scene of the tragedy Thursday afternoon.

Friday's issue of the Michigan City Dispatch says: The murder of Mrs. Kaholske, better known as Mrs. Michael Cook, at her home southwest of the city some time between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, is yet shrouded in mystery. There are no new developments and mere suspicion seems all that the officers have upon which to found a case. It is true that various and diverse stories of more or less value are told in the neighborhood. The settlement is made up of Polanders, who, it seems, do not dwell together in peace and some of them have cast reflections of evil import upon the husband of the dead woman. Stigma seems to have been attached to him, and he is aware of the fact. Mr. Cook was in the city this morning to purchase a coffin for his dead wife, and while here he stated that some of the people were accusing him of the crime, but he vehemently denied any complicity in the murder. He said he left his home Sunday and had not been back until summoned yesterday. He stated that he can prove by a number of witnesses that he was at his boarding place on the night of the murder, and can, in fact, prove a complete alibi. He seemed much distressed about the matter.

Frank Shelan, who resides one mile beyond the Cook home, says he saw Cook going home Tuesday night, but it is said that Shelan subsequently claimed that his ten-year-old son was the person who saw Cook going home. Then, again, Jack Walford, who resides two and one-half miles southwest of Cook's, says that he saw Cook going to work Wednesday morning. Cook passed Walford's house. It has also been stated that Cook and his wife frequently quarreled, and this seems to be a fact weel established.

Coroner A. J. Mullen, Dr. A. G. Tillotson and Dr. D. T. Brown went to the Cook residence this morning and held a post mortem examination. They returned late this afternoon. The doctors found three wounds. A bullet had entered each lung and one had penetrated the brain over the left ear. One of the bullets was taken out. Sheriff Reed and Deputy Donly are at the scene of the murder and are working on a clue. They have collected some pretty strong evidence and it is the consensus of opinion that the investigation will result in the arrest of Mr. Cook.

Saturday's Dispatch says: Michael Coo, the Polander whose wife was murdered near Otis last Wednesday afternoon or evening, and who has run away from the scene of the crime, and thereby added to the suspicion attached to him as being the guilty party. Cook left last night shortly after dark and no one has since been able to find any trace of him. The information was telegraphed to Sheriff Reed at LaPorte this morning from Otis and by him forwarded to the authorities in this city. Cook was not home yesterday when Coroner Mullen, Drs. Tillotson and Brown and Sheriff Reed visited the premises to further investigate the crime. He had started early for this city and did not return to his house until the visitors were leaving at four o'clock, and he manifested a degree of sullenness such as has characterized him since his wife was killed.

Coroner Mullen held a post mortem examination on the remains yesterday while at the Cook house, and assisted by the physicians accompanying him. The examination developed the fact that Mrs. Cook was first shot while in a standing position. The bullet, a thirty-two calibre one, passed through her left shoulder blade and was taken out between the third and fourth ribs. The second shot was fired after the woman had fallen down, and passed through her right lung. The weapon must have been held close to the body, for the flesh was powder-burned. The third shot, which caused instant death, passed through the head, the revolver having been pointed into the right ear of the victim and the flesh was again considerably scorched. The coroner, after making the examination, decided to withhold the inquest until later developments.

After the post mortem the officers began an investigation into the cause, which developed some peculiar circumstances and tends strongly toward confirming the belief that Cook killed his wife. Neighbors say that it was a well-known fact that Mrs. Cook was healous of her husband, who was inclined to be a trifle frisky around a certain other woman residing not far distant, who happened to be a widow and far more attractive than his wife. This fact and the continnance of such a state of affairs probably caused a considerable degree of internal dissention in and about the Cook household. Recently, however, the widow decided to get married and the nuptial bonds were actually proclaimed in the Otis Polish church, but before the third week Cook paid the woman a visit, a point which can be substantiated, and the match was broken off. At least it was not announced last Sunday. Shortly after this visit Mrs. Cook was murdered and now the widow is said to be missing.

Another circumstance worthy of note in the estimation of the coroner is the actions of a nephew of Cook's, named John Paschack. He has always been quite active in assisting at inquests and volunteering advice to the coroner or his deputy whenever a case developed in that end of the county, but yesterday he could not be induced to manifest even a casual interest in this case and refused to visit the scene of the murder until the sheriff pointed out to him that it would be for his interest to do so. While in the house of his uncle Coroner Mullen asked Paschack where his revolver was. He replied that he had none, and that there never was one in his house. He was very emphatic on this point and grew quite excited. He also said that none of the young men in the neighborhood ever had a revolver to his knowledge. Before he got out of the house the coroner went out into the yard and asked Paschack's sister where her brother kept his revolver, and she replied: "In the pantry." So it became evident that the young man wsa covering up the facts for some reason. After leaving the Cook house Paschack went to a neighbor's and told a young man with whom he had been hunting on the night of the murder to deny that he (Paschack) had ever owned a revolver. The fellow told the circumstance to the coroner, and then Paschack had to confess that he had lied, but he gave no reason for doing so. The officers went to his house and secured the weapon, and found that it contained three fresh cartridges of the same caliber as the one used in murdering Mrs. Cook. Paschack says that he used the old shots in killing a polecat. But, if so, why should he have concealed the facts from the officers? In the estimation of the authorities this revolver figured in the crime, and was probably used by Cook. It is not thought that Paschack was connected with the killing, except, perhaps, in loaning his uncle the revolver and in trying to shield him.

Sheriff Reed was urged to arrest Cook yesterday afternoon on the circumstantial evidence developed, but he hesitated to do so, and now, if all reports be true, is it doubtful if the man will be apprehended. His running away can only be interpreted to his disadvantage, and every effort ought to be made to bring him back to answer for the crime.

Newspaper: The Tribune
Date of Publication: October 14, 1892
Volume Number: 9
Issue Number: 27
Page: 1
Column(s): 1 and 2

Key to Newspaper Publication Locations:
    Newspapers Published in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana
                Chesterton Tribune
                The Tribune
                Westchester Tribune

    Newspapers Published in Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana
                Porter County Vidette
                Practical Observer
                Valparaiso Practical Observer
                Vidette and Republic
                Western Ranger

The obituaries and death notices appearing on this website have been transcribed exactly as they were originally published in the newspaper. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of obituaries and death notices appearing on this website.

Obituary/death notice transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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