September 15, 1935
Isabella (alternatively spelled Isobel) Ruxton and her housemaid Mary Jane Rogerson are murdered by Ruxton’s husband, Dr. Buck Ruxton
Dr. Ruxton (born Buktyar Rustomji Ratanji Hakim) had become increasingly jealous of his wife’s alleged infidelity for years before the murders, prompting Isabella to return with her children to Edinburgh at least once as well as attempt suicide in 1932.
In the early hours of September 15, Dr. Ruxton strangled Isabella either to death or near death. He then beat and stabbed her. To either prevent their housemaid Mary Jane Rogerson from discovering the body or because she had seen the murder, she was bludgeoned to death, though she was likely stabbed and/or strangled as well.
The doctor then mutilated and dismembered the bodies in the bath tub, removing the eyes, lips, several teeth, ears, and skin from the heads, fingertips from the hands, and any distinguishing feature such as vaccination or surgical scars to make identification, in his mind, impossible. He wrapped the various body parts in sheets, children’s clothing, and newspapers and dumped them under a bridge where approximately 70 pieces of the bodies were discovered on September 29.
Several days before the discovery of the body parts, Dr. Ruxton informed police his wife had abandoned him “once again.” He also visited Mary Jane’s parents to inform them she had become pregnant and that Isabelle was discreetly accompanying her to obtain an abortion. As abortions were illegal at the time, he urged the parents not to go to the police on the matter, though they did anyway which led to a recent missing persons file created for Mary Jane. After the bodies were discovered, investigators asked the Rogersons if they could identify any of the clothing the bodies were wrapped with. They positively identified a blouse with a distinctive patch in the armpit. Additionally, a family friend identified one of the children’s rompers, used to wrap a body part, as one given to the Ruxton children. It was also found during investigation that Dr. Ruxton had his house extensively cleaned, with particular attention to the bath tub and several stained carpets.
As well as the mound of circumstantial evidence against him, a new forensic technology was used to positively identify the victims. The skulls of both women were superimposed onto photographs of Isabella (pictured) and Mary Jane which provided a conclusive identification of each. Though Dr. Ruxton denied involvement in the murders, he was arrested and tried. After just one hour of deliberation, he was found guilty and sentenced to death. His sentence was carried out on May 12, 1936.
Article from The Detroit Free Press, published December 13, 1936