Crime History: Aristocratic young woman drowns in bathtub mystery

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, Nov. 29, in 1909, Ocey Snead, the beautiful daughter of the aristocratic Caroline Wardlaw, was found drowned in a bathtub in East Orange, N.J.

Wardlaw and her two sisters, of a once-proud family, were known for wearing all-black dresses and veils over their faces. But the women had fallen into poverty and lived in an empty mansion.

The sisters told police that 24-year-old Ocey committed suicide, but authorities said the evidence pointed to murder, and all three were charged in Snead's death.

Police said Ocey was drugged and drowned for $32,000 in insurance money.

Before the trial, Ocey's Aunt Virginia Wardlaw died of self-induced starvation.

Caroline Wardlaw pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to seven years. Mary Wardlaw, Ocey's other aunt, was cleared.

- Scott McCabe

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Scott McCabe

Staff Writer - Crime
The Washington Examiner