Saturday, March 26, 2016

Madness Runs Rampant on Baldwin Avenue

The Detroit Free Press, September 5, 1907
Albert Stemmelen is, no doubt, one of the most infamous Eloise alumnus. Not only did he "sacrifice" his infant daughter by throwing her off the Belle Isle bridge to her death but escaped from the asylum in grand fashion a month later. A manhunt led to his recapture shortly thereafter.

From what I have gleaned in available Free Press articles he was released in March of 1908 to work rehabilitation on a Fort Wayne, Indiana farm. During this time he began to feel a mania to constantly pray with his family and returned as promised to Eloise. He was released a final time in August of 1908 and apparently lived sanely until his death in 1968.

As for Julia Van Wanswelee: she was a neighbor of Stemmelen and not much else is known. The Stememelens lived at 270 Baldwin and the Van Wanswelees at 305 Baldwin. Since the Free Press is known for inaccuracy it's quite possible that the surname is misspelled and hence the reason why I am unable to find additional information.

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