Emma Miller

SUMMARY: Emma Miller, age 22, died November 24, 1906

On November 24, 1906, the family of Emma Winnefred Miller, age 22,of Boone County, Illinois, got a telegram that she was dying in Chicago from appendicitis. Before they had time to digest this information, a second telegram followed informing them that she was dead.

Emma’s boyfriend, Chauncey Johantgen, brought her body home for burial.

Afterward, suspicions arose concerning her death, and her body was exhumed. An autopsy found an incision consistent with an appendectomy — but Emma’s appendix was healthy and in place. Surgery had evidently been faked to hide the fact that she had in fact died from sepsis caused by an abortion.

Boone County Coroner Hawkey, Deputy Sheriff Frank Early, and Emma’s sister and brother-in-law took a train to Chicago, where police had already arrested Johantgen at the request of Boone County law enforcement.

Emma had worked in the art department of Mandel Brothers department store. She was so well regarded there that the management pushed hard for prosecution in her death.


  • “Is Arrested in Chicago,” The Daily Republican (Belvidere, IL) Jan. 5, 1907