The Milwaukie “Torso Murder” of 1946

Cold case

It’s not all kooky 50s architecture, wacky mid-century motels and obvious nods to Don Draper around here. Let’s get heavy.

Though it hasn’t been updated in more than a year the local crime blog Slabtown Chronicle is still a favorite of mine. A mixture of current crime, history and mayhem, it’s a fantastic read of Portland’s lurid past [especially for saps like me who think “old” means “good old days”].

A couple of years back they posted a grisly piece on an unsolved murder in Milwaukie/Oak Grove. Here’s an excerpt:

On the evening of Friday April 12, 1946 three people walking on the bank of the Willamette river near the Wisdom Island Moorage in Milwaukie discovered a burlap package floating in the river. H.C. Foster of Portland and James and Mary Rader of Milwaukie first thought the package might be a bag of drowned kittens. They fished the package to shore and were shocked to find that it contained the torso of a white woman

Detectives at the time thought the different body parts, found at different locations on the Willamette, were thrown from the Oak Grove Bridge. According to Slabtown Chronicle the case eventually went stone cold.

Last year, Clackamas re-opened the files to the case, amongst others. Here’s what they know:

Details: In the early morning hours of April 13, 1946, the fully clothed torso of an unidentified middle-aged female was found floating in the Willamette River near Oak Grove. On April 14, 1946, the torso’s arms and legs were located in the Willamette River. On October 13, 1946, the corresponding head was found in the Willamette River in the Oak Grove area.

Investigators determined that the cause of death was a blunt force injury to the head. Her head, arms and legs were then sawn off. The body was then wrapped in feed bags and weighted down with window sash weights.

The victim has never been identified, nor has a suspect been identified.

The victim is described as a Caucasian female with brown and gray hair. She was 40-50 years of age, 5’2”-5’4” in height and roughly 125 lbs.

To Report Info: Call the CCSO Tip Line at 503-723-4949 or Det. John Krummenacker at 503-655-8830 or johnkru@co.clackamas.or.us.

The photo at the top of the post are the shreds of clothing found on the woman.

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3 thoughts on “The Milwaukie “Torso Murder” of 1946

  1. This is the kind of stuff I live for and suicides too. I LOVE these of stories. I think about them everytime I hear someone say “The good ole days.”

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