Episode 7 // The Mysterious Beheading of Pearl Bryan

From journalist Amber Hunt and the Obsessed Network


When a headless woman's remains were discovered near Cincinnati in 1896, police had a problem. Long before DNA and fingerprinting, the lack of a head made it tough to identify the victim. Thanks to a sharp-eyed shoemaker, a new kind of detective work was born: The woman was ID'd thanks to a pair of distinctive shoes on the corpse's feet. Pearl Bryan was a 22-year-old Indiana woman who'd recently learned she was pregnant. Her lover, a Cincinnati man named Scott Jackson, suggested she come to town so they could figure out their next steps. After police discovered the "who," they then had to piece together the "how."


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