A Family Asphyxiated in a Manner That Aroused Grave Suspicions

Independence, Kan., Jan. 2 – At 9 o’clock yesterday morning the home of George W. Read, manager of the Long-Bell Lumber Co., was broken into by Al Brown, Mr. Read’s son-in-law, and suspicious neighbors under the impression that all was not right.  The discovery made was horrifying and involves the greatest mystery known to southern Kansas.  Mr. Read, clad only in his night clothes, sat in a chair before a hot stove fed by natural gas, his body in an advanced stage of decomposition.  Miss Edith Scott, a domestic of the family, lay dead on the floor of her room.  Mrs. Read and her five-year-old son were in bed, the boy in a dying condition and the mother unconscious.  Mrs. Read may recover.

Many theories are current as to the cause, one being asphyxiation, another accidental poisoning and another foul play.  The fact that two gas stoves in the house were burning at full force practically explodes the theory of asphyxiation, and the fact that no bruises were found on either person renders the murder theory almost incredible, leaving accidental poisoning as the most probable cause.

None of the family were seen later than Sunday evening, leaving no doubt that Mr. Read and Miss Scott had been dead thirty-six hours before discovered.  Every room in the house was intensely hot, and there being no ventilation, the fumes from the badly decomposed body of Read were stifling.  The Kinsley Graphic, Kinsley, Kansas.  January 5, 1894.  Page 4.  © Transcribed by Darren McMannis for the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies, Inc.