In the summer of 1940, a woman’s body floated to the top of the cold and deep Lake Crescent, in Olympic National Park, in the northwest corner of Washington State. The body had been wrapped in blankets and encircled with heavy ropes. When a young medical student examined the remains, he noted that her face, nose, and fingertips were missing and that her flesh had turned into a putty-like substance resembling Ivory Soap.
Before her identity was determined, she was known locally as “The Lady of the Lake.” It took authorities just over a year to figure out who she was—thanks to a dental plate—and to arrest her killer.
Hallie Latham Illingworth was born in 1901 on a farm in Kentucky. From her late teens to her early 30s, she moved around the country in search of better jobs and a better life. By the time she took a job as a barmaid at the Lake Crescent Tavern, in Port Angeles, Washington, she was a 35-year-old, two-time divorcee.
At the Tavern, she met Montgomery “Monty” J. Illingworth, a beer-delivery truck driver. The two were married in June 1936.
Monty was a charming ladies’ man; he was also a brute. Hallie came to work with bruises, scratches, and black eyes. He choked her, and broke her teeth. Their arguments were so loud and punishing that police were called into break one up not even five months into the marriage.
Just before Christmas in 1937, Hallie disappeared. Though he was under suspicion, Monty told people that Hallie had run off with another man. In 1938, with no body to prove otherwise, Monty was granted a divorce. He promptly moved to California with another woman.
Article by E.L Hamilton for Vintage News