Clara Bates

This story is close to home, approximately 15 miles from my house is the county line and near this line is the setting for today’s case.

June 30, 1952 a bartender, 76-year-old Clara “Cad” Bates was murdered. An unusual noise that sounded like a woman and child weeping lured 34-year-old Edward Kanieski to Cad’s Bar.

The bar had closed earlier than usual that night and the front door was locked. Edward left and returned with a friend and gained entry to the building from the back. When the two men entered Clara’s living quarters they found the bartender, dead.

Police were called immediately and it is reported that Clara had been nude except for her stockings and shoes. There was a rope around her neck, but she died from multiple blows from a blunt object to the head.

The murder weapon was never determined nor located.

There were rumors that Clara was the madame of a “sporting house” at the bar and provided patrons with a prostitute. It is suggested that Edward was one of her clients. And even that he had been at Clara’s earlier that evening.

With minimal police work, police arrested Edward for Clara’s murder. The prosecution presented fiber evidence from Edwards jacket and pants that matched a rug and a dog in Clara’s home.

Based on this highly circumstantial evidence, Edward was convicted. Edward would appeal his case often and in 1972 his case was heard at the state Supreme Court where the finer evidence was thrown out as circumstantial and no motive was provided. Edward was released but sadly died in 1975.

The question remains who killed Clara Bates?

One unique theory, and one I have never heard associated to him, was Ed Gein.

In 1954, about 20 miles south Ex Gein would kill bar owner Mary Hogan. Sounds a little similar. But we will never know if Clara Bates was Ed’s first victim.

Stay Weird Wisconsin

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