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Triple murder mystery: Part 2

What might have helped law enforcement solve the crime turned out to be one of the more frustrating aspects of the triple-murder investigation-the victims' dental records.

"The older of the two young victims, a 14 year old, had several thousand dollars in unfinished dental work," Emilo said. "This included a gold brace. This was a sign that the victim's family had money and could afford such costly dental work during the Great Depression."

Hundreds of dentists and orthodontists looked at the dental work in the weeks following the discovery of the three skeletons. In June 1935, an Elizabeth, N.J. dentist reported that he believed he recognized the work as having been done for a child of a New York stock broker.

The broker was said to have reported a wife and two children missing, however, it is believed the broker was never a serious suspect; his family members were later located alive and well. Police investigated other missing persons, but no hard evidence was forthcoming.

Evidence of a pillow was also found with the canvas awning and the human remains, so some authorities went as far as to speculate that the vicitims were shot in bed, possibly asleep and then dumped along the road. But even this theory didn't seem to produce any leads.

In June 1935, VSP Detective Franzoni reported that orthodontist Dr. Charles A. Spahn believed that at least one of the victims-probably the 14-year-old girl-was of Jewish descent. This, according to Spahn, was based on tooth structure and the shape of the mouth. (While a controversial idea, some researchers believe teeth can sometimes indicate ethnic background.)

Spahn also told police that the gold used in the bracework was similar to a block of metal he possessed. Also, it was discovered that the brace work was of a style developed by a Los Angeles dentist. A list of dentists that employed the method was investigated but nothing turned up. Even the maker of the victims' dental materials, S.S. White Co. of Philadelphia, Pa., was contacted for help. Again, nothing turned up.

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