October 29, 1901
Jane Toppan is arrested for murdering patients under her care
Toppan confessed to killing 31 patients whom she poisoned with various doses of morphine and atropine to see how the drugs affected her victims’ nervous system. She also would lay next to her patients, holding them as they died.
She was dismissed by the hospital she worked at for recklessly administering opiates, and began poisoning her landlords and her own foster sister. She eventually moved into the home of Alden Davis after Davis’ wife passed away (Mrs. Davis was, in fact, killed by Toppan). She immediately set to work poisoning the entire family, killing Mr. Davis and his 2 daughters.
With her employer dead, she began trying to court her late foster sister’s widower, attempting to win his affection by poisoning him and nursing him back to health. She even poisoned herself to gain his sympathy. Her plan was unsuccessful and she was asked to leave.
Around this time, the remaining Davis family members requested a toxicology report on the youngest Davis victim, and when it was determined she had been poisoned, Toppan was arrested. She confessed, saying her motivation was “to have killed more people — helpless people — than any other man or woman who ever lived…”
She was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to an insane hospital where she later died at the age of 81.