June 24, 1917
New York, New York
A female homicide victim is photographed

This photograph is accompanied only by a caption reading “Homicide (female) 1917 #1724 6/24/17”. Little else is known of who this woman was, why or how she was killed, or if her murderer was brought to justice, though author Luc Sante mentions in Evidence one possible identification.

The body of the unidentified murder victim

17-year-old Helen Wheelan had been out with several friends joy riding. At some point, two men began arguing over her affections. According to The Pittsburgh Press (June 25, 1917), “They agreed to fight the matter to an end with their fists.” The man losing the fight pulled a pistol and Wheelan jumped between the men in an effort to stop the shooting. Instead, she was shot: once in the eye which penetrated her brain, once in the neck and once in the breast. The intended target, Frank Devlin, was also shot twice. He was treated at a hospital and later recovered.

From The Pittsburgh Press, June 25 1917

The man responsible for the shooting, Michael Magliano, turned himself in to police. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

I’m personally not convinced the victim photographed is Wheelan. Although I could not find any photographs of her in life to compare to the body, and the timeframe and location match, the body doesn’t appear to be that of a 17-year-old girl. The lighting of the scene, blood/mud on the victim’s face, and the camera angle could all be responsible for concealing the victim’s age, however. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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