Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jesse Harding Pomeroy


Horace Millen died in the early afternoon, probably not long after lunch. It wasn't until nearly 4 p.m. that anyone happened along to find his butchered remains. Two brothers, playing along the beach, ran up the hill that hid Horace's body from sight. Atop the hill, one boy spotted what looked like a rag doll at the bottom of the small valley. Upon further investigation, he realized that it was no lost doll.

The brothers summoned the men who were still hunting ducks and the quartet divided, leaving one adult and a boy guarding the body while the others split up to look for police.

The Millen family had been searching for their lost child since before noon, and at 5:30 p.m., John Millen went to the police station to report the missing toddler. He described his son, including the velvet cap, checked shirt and knee breeches. Police promised to be on the lookout. News traveled slowly then, and it wasn't until much later that authorities in the South Boston precinct would learn that Horace Millen (as yet unidentified) had been found and taken to be examined by a coroner.

In the presence of a six-member coroner's jury, the medical examiner set about checking the mangled body for evidence. Death occurred due to the two slashes to the neck, either one of which would ultimately have proved fatal. Cleaning up the body, the coroner counted a dozen defensive wounds, 18 stab wounds to the torso, a punctured eyeball, and mutilated genitals. This was the work of a madman, the examiner thought.

Once their gruesome task was completed, the coroner's jury issued a report to the many newspapermen who had gathered at the mortuary hoping for a story. The police then issued a bulletin to all stations for help in identifying the victim. It didn't take long for the South Boston precinct to wire back for more details, and shortly after 9 p.m. a police officer was dispatched to the Millen home with the awful news.

There was only one logical suspect: that teen with the strange eye who liked to torture boys. This crime fit his signature perfectly. The only problem, newspapermen and police authorities thought, was that Jesse Pomeroy was safely locked away at Westborough Reformatory. Was it possible there was another fiend around?

The answer came quickly when the Boston chief of detectives reported that Jesse Pomeroy had been released on parole. Once his home was located, police in the South Boston precinct were ordered to pick him up immediately. They found him at home and took him into custody despite his mother's protests. Jesse reassured his mother that he hadn't done anything and promised to be home soon.

He would never spend another night in the Pomeroy house on Broadway.

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