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Grand Jury Gets Baby Death Case: 1946


Posted By: Volunteer: Sherri
Date: 3/10/2017 at 01:00:23

Grand Jury Gets Baby Death Case

Maxine Cook, 23, divorcee, will face the Grand Jury on charges of first degree murder when District court convenes here Monday. These charges were filed by an investigation of the finding of the body of a red-haired baby boy in an outside toilet at Milton, on the property of Mrs. Edna Brewer, last Thursday, September 19.
(Handwritten: 1946)

In the court of Justice of the Peace W.B. Newbold Tuesday afternoon, Attorney Joseph W. Newbold appeared as counsel with the defendant, waived preliminary hearing, and the case was bound over for action by the grand jury. The defendant was ordered held without bond.

Vernal Vinzant, scavenger from Ft. Madison, made the startling discovery late Thursday as he was making his regular route to Milton.

Sheriff George Swailes and Coroner Harold Catcott were called to investigate the matter. A partial postmortem was conducted by Dr. Robert J. Cook and Coroner Harold Catcott. In their opinion the child had been dead about three days.

In a written confession, Maxine Cook, also known as Maxine Jacks, admitted that she was the mother of the child and said that she gave birth to the child where it was found on September 17, two days before it was found. In another confession she also stated that she was the mother of another child whose decomposed body was found after excavation had been made in an outhouse in Keosauqua.

In an inquest held at Milton, the jury fixed responsibility for the death of the child on Maxine Cook because of her willful failure to care for he baby during and after birth. The charges filed by Attorney McConnell described the act as premeditated. Members of the Coroners Jury were Art Fuller, Clay Baird and Lamar Rowland.

In an inquest held in connection with the second body found in Keosauqua, the jury reported it was unable to agree on the cause of death because of the condition of the body. In another written confession Maxine Cook admitted being the mother of the child born in June of 1945.

Officer Delbert Murray of the State Criminal Bureau of Investigation was called by Sheriff Swailes soon after the body of the child was found in Milton. He assisted in investigating the case.
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The case of the State of Iowa vs. Maxine Cook which has been attracting considerable attention for several weeks was heard in the district court on Monday of this week when the defendant, entered plea of guilty to "exposing and abandoning a child," and was sentenced by Judge Levis to an indeterminate sentence of five years in the women's state reformatory at Rockwell City, also to pay the costs of prosecution. Her appeal bond was fixed at $3,000. She was taken to Rockwell City on Tuesday by Sheriff Swailes and Mrs. Swailes.

As soon as plausible after the hearing on Monday the sheriff was instructed to notify the fifty members of the pettit jury who had been called to appear court on Tuesday, that their services would not be needed and that they are excused for the term.

Source: Van Buren Co. Genealogical Society Obituary Book H, Page 111, Keosauqua Public Library, Keosauqua, Iowa


Van Buren Documents maintained by Rich Lowe.
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