17 October 2020

Spooky SLC: Unsolved Murder of Frances Korous, part 2

Liberty Park 1912 with the bridge where it was surmised that
Frae’s body was dumped into the lake. From UDSH
. Color by Imagecolorizer.

Continued from previous post

20 days later, on the afternoon of Nov 6 1920, 13 year old Truman Pratt was sailing a toy boat in the southeast section of the Lake at Liberty Park when he saw what he thought was a Halloween mask floating in the water about 15 feet from shore.

He fashioned a hook to the string of his boat and tried to drag the item back to shore, only to discover it was the body of Frae Korous. He immediately found Park Superintendent Sidney R Lambourne who was in the greenhouse who then called the SLC Police.

At the Coronor’s Inquest, it was discovered that there was no water in Frae’s lungs which ruled out suicide. Death was caused by strangulation by a piece of cloth tightly knotted around her neck; the cloth came from a woman’s undergarment (but not from Frae’s undergarment). Her shoes were partially untied. Her jewelry was still attached to her clothing ruling out robbery. And there were no bruises or other injuries on her body. Her stomach was found to be empty with the exception of a red liquid, likely from some cheap candy. No sign of poison was found in her stomach. And rigor mortis had set in with her body being in a sitting position indicating she was killed in a chair.

A spot of blood was found on the bridge at Liberty Park and some thought that may indicate where her body was dumped. It appeared that her body had been in the lake for up to 2 weeks (although rigor mortis, so maybe not).

In the 1920s that was the extent of the forensic evaluation and the SLC Police were stumped. No motive could be determined and no suspects were found. Although the empty stomach pointed to her being alive for a time after her last meal, some of the Police thought it indicated that her brother Yaro lied about the last day she was seen alive and he was arrested and held for several days. Eventually he was released as there was no evidence to hold him.

The murder of Frances "Frae" Korous was never solved.

Sources: Numerous historic news articles but especially SL Trib 1920-11-07.

Weird note: Truman Pratt later drowned in Utah Lake at the age of 38 while duck hunting.

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