Sarah Jane Whiteling Essay

1248 Words 5 Pages
Rodeo Thompson
Sarah Jane Whiteling
Sarah Jane Whiteling was born in the mid-1800’s, a tough time in history to be alive. She lived in Pennsylvania with her husband, a son, and a daughter. Sarah was accused and found guilty of killing her entire family by the method of poisoning from common rat poison which contained arsenic. Her sickly husband was the first to die on March 20, 1888, followed by her nine-year old-daughter, Bertha in April and her two-year-old son, Willie in May of the same year. (
When first confronted about the murders she completely denied the fact. She didn’t seem to even grieve the recent deaths in her family. It is possible the murders were the effect of unfortunate things that happened earlier in her life. She was born in Germany and married a man in Iowa named Tom Brown who eventually died in prison. This traumatic event may have affected her psychologically which could have
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Sarah called for a doctor after she poisoned her children but when given medication that could have helped them, she didn’t give it to them. Is wasn’t until the third death that suspicions started. The coroner named Ashbridge was the first to suspect all the sudden deaths from one family. His interest led to the realization that each of the bodies contained large doses of arsenic. Coroner Ashbridge sent for Sarah, but she denied any knowledge of how they all came in contact with arsenic. Next, the triple death alarmed Detective Frank Geyer who began investigating the case. (Engendered Death: Pennsylvania Women Who Kill Pg. 130) When being questioned, Sarah told the detective that she believed that the deaths may be the result of water that was contaminated. Of course, this was not found to be the source of the death and evidence began to appear that led to the trial of Sarah Whiteling.

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