December 19, 1917
Montrose, Colorado
Nancy Jane Bush confesses to killing her son after he killed his own child

Nancy claimed her son, John, had become enraged after his 11- or 12-year-old son Otis was caught stealing $1.35 from his grandmother’s purse. She stated John “beat [Otis] until he fell in a dying condition.” To hide the crime, John dismembered Otis’ body with an axe and forced Nancy at gunpoint to help boil the body parts in lye. The pieces that were not rendered down into soap were then strewn around the yard. In vengeance, Nancy claimed she waited until John had fallen asleep, attacked him with the same axe used to murder Otis, and disposed of John’s body the same way as he had done with his own son.

Nancy was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to “not less than ten nor more than eleven years” in prison. She served seven years before she was paroled.

The Montrose Press. February 1, 1919


  • Franscell, Ron. Crime Buff’s Guide to the Outlaw Rockies. Guilford: Globe Pequot Press, 2011
  • The Prioche Record [Prioche, Nevada]. April 25, 1919
  • “Human Blood, Bones and Teeth Testify Experts in Nancy Jane Bush Trial.” The Montrose Press. April 4, 1919
  • “Mrs. Nancy Jane Bush, 74 Charged With Murder of Grandson; Otis Bush, 12.” The Montrose Press. February 1, 1919
  • “Aged Woman’s Tale of Crime.” The Ogden Standard. December 20, 1917
  • “Beat Son to Death.” The Topeka State Journal. December 19, 1917
  • “Fiendish Crime By Farmer.” The Daily Gate City and Constitution-Democrat [Keokuk, Iowa]. December 19, 1917
  • “Awful Murder.” The Montrose Press. December 19, 1917

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