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Elsie Sigel: Wikis


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The Chinatown mission where Sigel met her suspected murderer.

Elsie Sigel, a granddaughter of General Franz Sigel, is notable for her notorious murder at the age of 19 in New York City in 1909.

Sigel, who had been a missionary in Chinatown, was found strangled inside a trunk on 19 June 1909 [1] [2] in the apartment of the prime suspect, a Chinese man named Leon Ling, a waiter in a Chinese restaurant. Sigel had been missing since the 9th of June, when she was last seen leaving her parents' apartment to visit her grandmother.[3] Ling was a favorite student of Sigel's, and during the murder investigation 35 love letters signed by Sigel were found in Ling's apartment. It was speculated that the motive for murder might have been jealousy, as Chu Gain, manager of a Mott Street restaurant, was also found to be in possession of recent love letters from Sigel. Gain reported that he had recently received an anonymous letter threatening Sigel's life if they did not cut off their relationship.[4] Ling was never apprehended, and the murder remains unsolved.

Sigel's murder gained widespread notoriety due to the inter-racial aspects of the relationship as well as the fame of her grandfather, who was a U.S. Civil War hero. The murder set off a wave of anti-Chinese hysteria, as well as suggestions that the murder was Sigel's own fault.




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