Detective Ellis Parker and the Pickled Corpse Case Part 1

About the famous detective Ellis Parker and his famous pickled corpse case, history and account of the crime.



The Crime

When on Oct. 5, 1920, a 60-year-old bank runner disappeared with a pouch containing $70,000 in cash and another $30,000 in negotiable securities, it was assumed he had absconded. Investigation showed that although considered to be a prim husband, David Paul of Camden, N.J., was quite a wild lover and had taken part in numerous orgies at a cottage some distance outside of town. His sex-oriented friends insisted they had not seen him the night before his disappearance. Then 11 days later Paul's body was found in a shallow grave in a wooded area. He had been shot through the head. Mysteriously, while the ground around the corpse was bone-dry, Paul's overcoat and clothing were sopping wet. The only explanation the police could come up with was that possibly his murderer hadn't been sure whether the bullet had killed him and had therefore "drowned" him in a nearby stream, Bread and Cheese Run. He had been dead, however, according to an autopsy, for only 48 to 72 hours. Thus, either he had absconded with the money and was later killed for it, or he had been kidnapped at the start but kept alive by his abductor for eight or nine days before being eliminated.

Enter the Detective

Ellis Parker was a 5-ft. 6-in., soft-spoken, blue-eyed, gentle-looking man who could have passed for a small-town grocer or almost anything but what he was--the chief of detectives of Burlington County, N.J. Known as the "county detective with a worldwide reputation," Parker was noted for his ability as a crime solver, and other jurisdictions, especially other sheriffs, in the state often called on him for aid. Parker firmly believed that the logical interpretation of facts was almost always the correct one. So far as alibis were concerned, he was convinced that most criminals fabricate an alibi before they commit a crime; therefore, he automatically suspected any person with an alibi. He once nailed a soldier for the murder of a fellow GI at Fort Dix, even though there were over 100 likely suspects. Only one man could provide an alibi for the time the crime was committed. It was illogical for someone to remember what he was doing three months earlier, so the soldier with the alibiheaded Parker's suspect list. The shrewd detective soon found incriminating evidence against the murderer and got a confession.

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