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A serial killer in Dayton's history?

Published: Monday, July 18, 2016 @ 4:21 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2016 @ 5:43 PM
By: By Lauren Clark

The newspapers called him, "Jack The Strangler." From 1900 to 1910. he murdered nine girls in nine years and five of the crimes occurred in the city of Dayton. Now, more than one hundred years later, a local man is investigating the slayings. 

"I wanted to tell these girls' stories. That's all I ever wanted to do," said Brian Forschner. 

Forscher's great-aunt Mary, was only fifteen when she was beaten, raped and strangled. Her body was left in a barn on the Grafton-Kennedy estate not far from her Keowee Street home. It was the fourth of five murders that gave Dayton a reputation in the press as a "dangerous place for girls." The violence began with 11-year old Ada Lantz, who was strangled and forced head-first into an outhouse vault. Four years later, Dona Gilman's mother looked out the window of her West Dayton home to see her daughter's body in a field across the street. One year later, Anna Markowitz and her boyfriend were attacked in McCabe Park. He was shot and killed and Anna was raped and strangled. Next, came the murder of Mary Forscher. Just a few days later, Lizzie Fulhart was killed and shoved into a cistern behind a synagogue now known as Temple Israel. 

"A similar motive in all the cases and similar routes by all the girls. I can place the girls on all the same bus routes and transfer routes. All of them were seen downtown near the First and Jefferson street area," Forscher said.

A man identified as Hick White, a janitor at the synagogue where Lizzie Fulhart's body was found, is the killer of all the women according to Forscher. In 1910, White choked and raped a Springfield girl at the synagogue and Forscher said that was not his first brush with the law.

"His first arrest was in 1900 for trying to drag a little girl underneath the Fairgrounds grandstand," said Forscher.

Although he cannot prove it now, Forscher believes he can also tie White to the murder of four girls in Cincinnati in 1904. Hick White did serve some prison time and died of natural causes.