Thursday, November 18, 2010

Woman From D.M. Knifed Fatally in Chicago Subway

newspaper clipping amanda shafer scrapbook
hand written "April 10 1968"
"Bernice Wassmuth's girl (Flower Shop)"

by Nick Lamberto
Mrs Annabell Koons, who moved from the Des Moines area less than a month ago, was fatally stabbed in a Chicago, Ill. subway station Tuesday.
Mrs Koons, 25, was the daughter of the late Mr and MRs William Wassmuth of Des Moines and the wife of Thomas Koons of West Des Moines.
Police detective Francis J. Flanagan said the woman died of "multiple stab wounds-she was stabbed from 10-18 times."
"Lots of the wounds were in the hands-typical self defense wounds," Flanagan said. "Most of the wounds were in the back and arms. The knife was left in the woman's left side near the shoulder blade."
Flanagan said the knife had a 3 1/2 inch blade and a 4 1/2 inch long handle.
Flanagan said witnesses told police the assailant was a male Negro between 20 and 28 years old.
"We think the motive was robbery," Flanagan said. "We can't find her purse."
"It could have been a sex crime, too. Lots of kooks walking around and when they see a woman they get ideas."
Relatives said Mrs Koons left the Des Moines area about Mar. 12. She had a job as a nurse's aid at Bethany Methodist Nursing Home on Chicago's northwest side and lived there, police said.
Officials at the Christian Servicemen's Center in Chicago said they had helped her find work in the Bethany home.
The stabbing took place on the second level of the Harrison street station at the south end of Chicago's loop.
The subway has exits at Harrison and at Polk street, a block south. The Polk street exit is unattended.
The woman apparently was on her way to visit the Christian Serviceman's Center and to have lunch with a friend.
Detective Flanagan said:
"Some subway employees were washing down the subway platform with high-pressure hoses. Two passangers got off a train and saw this man about 25 feet behind the woman.
"The woman turned and apparently asked the man following her for directions. He pointed toward the Polk street stairway.
"The witnesses heard screams as the two left their view. She (Mrs Koons) was found near the turnstile exit. It's strictly an exit. No one could have come in that way."
The man who followed Mrs Koons was eating from a bag of peanuts before the stabbing, witnesses said.
Frank Rocleaire, 41, a subway employee, told police he heard screams and saw the woman's body lying at the top of the stairs.
Relatives said Mrs Koons had quit school while she was attending Warren Harding Junior high School here. When she was 16 she was married to Jack Kline, relatives said.
Relatives said Mrs Koons had been divorced from Kline for several years and was separated several months ago from her second husband, Thomas Koons of West Des Moines.
Koons, 42, a janitor for the Farm Bureau here, said his wife told him she was leaving Mar. 11 by bus to visit her brother in South Bend, Ind.
"I thought she was coming back in a few days, and then I found out later she wanted a divorce," Koons said. "I never heard from her again after she left," he said.
Koons said he and his wife lived at 220 First st. in West Des Moines.
Mrs Koons was born in Des Moines Mar. 2 1943.
Survivors include two brothers, Dr Dale Wassmuth of Iowa City and Paul Wassmuth of Boise, Idaho; two half-brothers, Melvin Scholine of South Bend, Ind. and Alvin Scholine of Reno, Nev.; two sisters, Mrs LArry (Diann) Schroeder of Stewartsville, Minn., and Mrs Harry J Lewis of Ankeny; and her maternal grandparents, Mr and Mrs Will Blake of Mitchellville.
Mrs Koons had lived from time to time with an aunt and uncle, Mr and Mrs Gerald Blake at Altoona.

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