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Where Mrs. Luetgert Was Seen:
Helena, Montana, and Waukesha, Wisconsin
On September 16, 1897, the Chicago Tribune reported:
A story came from Waukesha, Wis., yesterday to the effect that a man giving the name of Christ Fathan, Helena, Mont., stopped there on his way to Chicago and declared he was going to spring a surprise on the state in the Luetgert case. He says he had been well acquainted with Luetgert in the old country, and that Luetgert's wife was at present stopping at his home in Helena, Mont., as the guest of his wife.
The story did not create great interest in Chicago. Attorney Phalen, for the defense, said he had never before heard of Christ Fathan, and that he was disposed to consider the report of no more value than hundreds of others of similar import which the defense has investigated at great cost from the time the trial began. Moreover, he admitted the defense has no idea whatsoever as to the whereabouts of the missing woman.
"We have investigated a countless number of these reports," said he, "but they have all been without foundation. Of course, if any other likely ones come up they will also be investigated; but they will have to come with a better recommendation that this one. Coming as it does at second hand, I think it will scarcely pay to waste time upon it."
Luetgert was shown the telegram from Waukesha last night in jail. He said: "I don't know this man Fathan and can't say much about it."
Helena, Mont., Sept. 15. (Special.) No trace can be found of any one of the name of Christ Fathan in this city. So far as known no one here has any knowledge of Mrs. Luetgert.
The Chicago Daily News also reported about the incident in a September 16 report:
"I hardly feel like wasting enough mental energy to express what I think of that story," said Assistant State's Attorney McEwen, speaking of an article in a morning paper to the effect that one Christ Fathan, who claims to have known Luetgert in the old country, has seen Mrs. Luetgert in his home in Helena, Mont...
"The season's record of bicycle punctures is not be compared with the number of these stories that have the wind let out of them as soon as they are sprung," continued Mr. McEwen. "If this Mr. Fathan has Mrs. Luetgert at his home he could not confer a greater favor on the state than by bringing her to the trial. What is more, if Luetgert has not the money to have her brought to Chicago, the state will furnish the funds. Nothing would give us greater pleasure."
And the Chicago Evening Journal of September 16 reported:
T.W. Youmans of Waukesha, Wis., furnishes more details concerning the man who gave the name of Christian Fathan, while in that town, and who declares Mrs. Luetgert was at his home in Montana.
"The man was only in town a few hours yesterday," Mr. Youmans says. "He was on his way, he said, to spring a sensation in the Luetgert case, claiming Mrs. Luetgert was staying with his wife in Montana.
"He was roughly dressed, fairly intelligent, and carried a bundle, with a small sickle. He had evidently been drinking. He said he had a farm of 400 acres near Helena, Mont., which his boys were running while he went to Chicago. He claimed to be an ex-confederate veteran of a Kentucky regiment, and his war stories seemed straight. He gave no details as to how or when Mrs. Luetgert went to his place."
Read about other places where the missing Mrs. Luetgert was supposedly seen.