Louise Teuber (born circa 1914 - died April 19, 1931) was a 17-year-old store clerk in San Diego, California who was murdered in April 1931.
Louise Teuber was one of four San Diego girls and women who were murdered in the spring of 1931. Virginia Brooks, 10, disappeared one day and her mutilated corpse was found by a sheepherder a month later. The place of discovery was on Camp Kearny mesa. Mrs. W.D. (Diamond Dolly) Bibbens was found partially clad and lying on her bed in a ransacked downtown San Diego apartment, on April 23. She was murdered the same week as Teuber. Bibbens frequented race tracks and had been strangled. Hazel Bradshaw, 22, was stabbed seventeen times. Her body was dumped in the scenic Indian village-Boy Scout headquarters-in Balboa Park, San Diego, California.
Her body was found hanging from a limb of an oak tree at the foot of Black Mountain Open Space Park. The body of Teuber was discovered on April 20 by a man who was looking for a picnic location. Police and deputy sheriffs thought the teenager had been dead for about eight hours before she was discovered. The young woman was wearing a pair of black shoes and gunmetal-colored hose. Louise's corpse was positioned half-seated with the heels resting on the ground. One end of the rope was tied in a double half-hitch. It was drawn tightly around the youth's neck. The rope ran up over the tree limb and its other end was anchored to the base of another tree, approximately fifteen to twenty feet away.
Five police detectives were assigned on April 20 to assist deputy sheriffs in a search for the murderer of Louise Teuber. The investigation was joined by Harry Hickok and N.F. Nuremberg of the California State Bureau of Identification.
The finder, T. Martinez, was startled and telephoned the police and Sheriff's office. Officers described Teuber's clothing as consisting of a fur-trimmed coat, green dress, and underclothing. Also found was a package containing a woman's bra and a pair of hose. A purchase slip found with the items indicated they were bought the day before in a downtown store in San Diego. Inside Miss Teuber's coat there were four addresses, three of them of men and the other of a girl. The girl whose name was found was located. She was taken to a funeral establishment in La Mesa, California, where the body was transported. She identified Teuber as the daughter of a barber-shop owner.
Officers began with only a few clues. One was a peculiar knot tied in the rope around the victim's neck. Another was an army blanket found with the clothing. The knot was identified as one known to all sailors. Authorities began a hunt for a sailor who may have been a companion of Teuber. The blanket was subjected to a minute study.
The first suspect named by San Diego Sheriff Cooper was a commercial photographer. He photographed young women with little clothing on. Officials thought Teuber may have made an appointment with this person. Her clothing was found piled neatly on the ground by police. However, either before or after she posed, Louise was subjected to a murderous outburst of fury.
The suspect provided authorities with photos which were taken in a cabin he owned near San Diego. Information regarding the man was given by local sources. They revealed the suspect had been acting suspicious following the discovery of Miss Teuber's body. He was said to have a rendezvous in the Black Mountain area close to where the corpse was found.
Twenty people were questioned by midnight on April 20. These included suspects, people who were privy to Teuber's habits, and men friends. Fifteen more people were named in Louise's diary and were to be queried. One of her boyfriends, Cyril Smith, 19, told police he had talked with her on Saturday night before she left her work at a downtown store. In his statement Smith noted, Miss Teuber had more dates than any girl I ever knew. Another male friend, Leslie Airhart, 20, said he drove Louise to a park on Saturday afternoon. There she revealed to him her intention to leave home.
Bits of skin were found underneath her fingernails, which indicated a great struggle. The back of her head was bruised. Authorities theorized she was hit on the skull with a weapon such as a blackjack. Another idea about the blow to the head is it may have been a man's fist with a ring on one finger. This is probably because of the small wound at the base of the skull. The unusual killer then took her body and hoisted her by the neck by the rope which he had tied in a sailor's knot. Coroner Gunn believed Teuber's body was drawn to the position in which it was found from a prostrate position on the ground. A large burned spot was discovered on the limb over which the rope was thrown.
The coroner's examination led officers to surmise that the victim' slayer stunned her into unconsciousness before tying the noose around her neck. An analysis of Teuber's stomach contents was ordered after it was assumed she might have been drugged. Death was attributed to strangulation.
Gunn further speculated the murderer left the body where it would be seen close to a road, because he knew Louise had left home. The killer was aware she had written some notes. So he placed her where she was discovered and might be presumed to be a suicide.