Chinese Slayer Eludes Officers

Los Angeles Herald/June 22, 1909

Murderer Of Elsie Sigel Is Yet At Large

 Two Orientals Arrested, But Afford Little Data

 Former Occupant of Room Where Girl Met Death Captured at Amsterdam, N. Y.—Restaurant Keeper Surrenders

New York, June 21.—After a bit of police flurry today, an hour or two of unverified report and telephoning between cities, the murder of Elsie Sigel resolved itself into an unsolved crime again tonight.

Chun Sin, who formerly occupied a room adjoining that where the girl’s body was found, is held by the police at the up-state village of Amsterdam, N. Y., but what has been learned from him has cleared up the case but little.

At Schenectady the Chinese arrested today, at first thought to be Leon Ling or William L. Leon, who is sought as the girl’s murderer, pretty well established that he is an unoffending Celestial who formerly worked in a New York restaurant and whose arrest was brought about merely through a striking resemblance to Leon Ling.

Tells Nothing of Value

The disappearance of Chun Sin about the time the murder was committed made the police eager for his apprehension, which was considered second in importance to that of Leon, but the interview with him at Amsterdam seems to have brought out nothing of value.

He maintains that he rarely associated with Leon, and, while acquainted with Elsie Sigel, knows nothing of the murder.

While the authorities upstate were putting two Chinese through an inquisition Sun Leong, keeper of the restaurant above which the body of the girl was found, was being questioned at police headquarters.

Sun Leong disappeared on the night the body was found, but quietly surrendered himself early today.

He is being detained as a material witness, but his voluntary surrender is taken to mean that he is not implicated in the crime.

In the midst of all the police activity the body of Elsie Sigel was quietly buried in Woodlawn cemetery.

Publicity Avoided

As the father had announced last night that he wished to avoid any more publicity, the coffin containing the mutilated form was taken directly from the morgue to the burying ground in a plain undertaking wagon.

The ceremony at the grave was strictly private and was attended only by her father, two brothers—Reginald and Theodore—and by her uncle, Franz Sigel.

Although the mission in Chinatown where Elsie Sigel formerly taught has been closed a meeting of Chinese who have been converted to Christianity was held in a Doyer street mission this afternoon to discuss plans for raising a fund to be offered as a reward for the capture of Elsie’s slayer. A committee will go through Chinatown, soliciting subscriptions.

Fungy Mow’s Statement

Rev. Fungy Mow, who acted as chairman, said Leon Ling had never been connected with the mission in any way and as far as he knew had never attended any school in Chinatown. Miss Sigel, he said, had taught Leon.

Theories as to the motive for the murder all center on the jealousy of Leon Ling. That he killed her because of her apparent friendship for Chu Gain, who is still detained as a material witness, is the predominating belief.

In support of this, Mrs. Florence Todd, one of the most prominent women workers in Chinatown, who knew Elsie Sigel and her mother intimately, said this afternoon:

“I know very well Chu Gain, who is under arrest. He is one of the few Chinese whom I would trust with my life. Mrs. Sigel and Elsie also knew him for many years. They were introduced to him through an uncle of his.

“I believe Elsie was in love with Chu Gain and would have married him, but that he would not marry her.”

Here Mrs. Todd went into the most significant part of her statement—that bearing on Leon Ling. She said:

Mrs. Todd’s Opinion

“Within the last year, despite her love for Chu Gain, Elsie became apparently infatuated with Leon Ling. But I think it was only a flirtation.

“He, I know, asked her to marry him, but she refused him. In fact she told me she refused him. Her mother knew all about it.”

Despite her statement Mrs. Todd said she was not inclined to believe that Leon committed the murder, and she went on to relate that she has had a dream that Elsie Sigel had committed suicide.

Chu Gain, she said, came to her on the morning of June 14, five days after the murder is supposed to have been committed, and told her that he, too, had had a dream. In this dream Chu Gain, according to Mrs. Todd, had seen the form of the girl appear before him crying, “Chu, save me.”

This seemed to worry the Chinese greatly because Elsie was missing at the time.

Called at House

The fact that Leon Ling called at the Sigel home Tuesday, June 8, the day before Miss Sigel’s disappearance, and threatened to kill Chu Gain unless Elsie “stopped going with him” was made known today by Paul Sigel, the father of the murdered girl.

Mr. Sigel said also he believed Elsie was induced to visit Leon’s room under the representation that Leon was ill: that she was killed on the day she left her home and that she did not go to Washington. Mr. Sigel said Leon was under the influence of liquor when he called.

In the love letters of Elsie Sigel to two Chinese is found the motive for the gruesome murder of Gen. Franz Sigel’s granddaughter.

The night the body was discovered wedged into the old trunk of Leon Ling in English avenue the police found a score or more of letters which the girl had addressed to them.

They were endearing in tone and indicated a friendship more than platonic.

Find Two Hundred Letters

In searching Chinatown last night the detectives raided the private rooms of Chu Gain, owner of the famous Port Arthur Chinese restaurant, and there they found about 200 letters which had been addressed to him by Elsie Sigel.

These letters were even more endearing in tone than those found in Leon Ling’s room. In these she addressed him as “My Own Dearest Beloved,” “My Own Dear Chu.” And she frequently signed herself “Ever Your Loving Elsie.”

The Chu Gain letters gave the first information as to the motive of the murder. Miss Sigel told Chu Gain in some of these letters of her conduct with Leon Ling, told him not to be jealous and explained her object in maintaining her friendship for Ling.

The police will not give out the full contents of these letters. It is now supposed that Leon Ling decided to tragically end the romance of the girl he loved and his rival. Her affection for Chu Gain was known, as is shown by the letters received by Chu Gain, in which he and the girl are threatened with death unless their relations ceased.

Threat Executed

The murder apparently was the execution of that threat.

The Chinatown mission, popularly known as the “Girls’ recreation rooms,” was closed last night for the first time since it was opened eight years ago.

No explanation was given for this action, but it was supposed the murder of Elsie Sigel was responsible. It was in these rooms that Miss Sigel first undertook missionary work in Chinatown, and it was here that she was brought in contact with many of the residents of that section.

The young girl missionaries of Chinatown, like Elsie Sigel, use these rooms in which to meet the unfortunate women of Chinatown and there talk religion with them. On stated occasions Chinese were invited to the rooms and there they met the young girl missionaries.

In that manner many Chinese were induced to attend Christian Sunday schools in different parts of the city and from these first meetings many romances have developed, the Chinese marrying white women. The first of these weddings, which occurred eight years ago, crated much comment, but recently there have been so many such alliances that little attention is paid to them.

Telegrams Confusing

Telegrams from various cities of the country relative to the supposed movements of Leon Ling and his missing roommate, Chong Sing, have only served to confuse the police in their search for the man wanted.

But the information from Chicago that two such men passed through there en route to Vancouver, B.C., is considered of importance and points west of Chicago have been notified to be on the lookout for them.

Leon Ling is reported to have been in Washington last Wednesday and Thursday, in company with his roommate, Chung Sing, and a white woman whose identity is not known.

The woman, it is said, lodged two nights with a family in C street, northwest, near Third street, and left there last Thursday night at 7 o’clock in company with two Chinese.

Members of the family at Washington today identified photographs of Leon Ling and Chung Sing as likenesses of the men who called on her. Occupants of the house declared the woman had said she was a trained nurse and was going to Baltimore to attend a patient.

She remained at the house from Wednesday afternoon until the two Chinese called for her Thursday night, without giving any reason for not hurrying to the patient.

The woman who rented the room declared the visitor was pale and much excited.

(Source: Chronicling America,