The Springfield Mall Shooting & Mrs. Sherlock Holmes

Apr 08, 10:30 AM
It was February of 1917, and 18-year-old Ruth Cruger was missing. Her family panicked. They called the police. But detectives didn’t seem too concerned. They assured the family that Ruth would come back. And if she didn’t? Well, Ruth was probably… on the prowl. The Crugers were offended by the implication, and incensed that the police weren’t taking them seriously. Months went by. Despite a credible suspect, the case went cold. So the Crugers did the only thing they could think to do. They hired a courageous, tenacious attorney named Grace Humiston. By the end of the saga, Grace would be dubbed, ‘Mrs. Sherlock Holmes.’ 

Then Brandi tells us about a shocking event that bystanders initially wrote off as a joke. It was the day before Halloween, in 1985, at the Springfield Mall in Springfield, Pennsylvania. A woman approached the mall wearing fatigues. She carried a gun. Most people thought she was in costume. Then she fired her very real weapon.

And now for a note about our process. For each episode, Kristin reads a bunch of articles, then spits them back out in her very limited vocabulary. Brandi copies and pastes from the best sources on the web. And sometimes Wikipedia. (No shade, Wikipedia. We love you.) We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the real experts who covered these cases.

In this episode, Kristin pulled from:
“Mrs. Sherlock Holmes Takes on the NYPD” by Karen Abbott for Smithsonian Mag
“Missing in Action” By David Krajicek for the New York Daily News 
The “Mrs. Sherlock Homes” episode of Criminal, where Brad Ricca is interviewed for his book, “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The true story of New York city’s greatest female detective and the 1917 missing girl case that captivated a nation”
“Cocchi implicated in police grafting,” New York Herald June 23, 1917
“Buried Truth,” by Joseph McNamara for The Daily News
“Cocchi says his wife killed girl,” Daily News June 26, 1919

In this episode, Brandi pulled from:
“Sylvia Seegrist: Guilty But Insane” by Katherine Ramsland, The Crime Library
“Sylvia Seegrist went psycho and killed three innocent people at the Springfield, Pa., mall” by Mara Bovsun, New York Daily News
“Decades After Sylvia Seegrist, Mentally Ill People Are Still Murdering Innocents” by Victor Fiorillo, Philadelphia Magazine
“Sylvia Seegrist”