Addie was exhumed on November 3, 2011, and taken to Milwaukee for an autopsy. To read why this was done, click here. To read the latest, click here.
Two weeks after the exhumation, I talked with the medical examiner by phone, and he gave me a full report.
Perhaps the most important thing that needs to be known is that the autopsy results were inconclusive.
Based on the email and the comments received, a lot of people are very fuzzy on what that means.
It means this: The autopsy did not prove that Addie was murdered (due to both the lack of skeletal remains and their poor condition), and it did not prove that she was not murdered.
Let me share something else the medical examiner told me in that conversation on November 17th at 10:28 in the morning. He said, and I quote, “We didn’t have a lot of [Addie's] skull.”
While her lower jaw was found, with several teeth still in place, her upper jaw and teeth were not found. Nor was her face (the skull bones underlying her face). Nor were a few other pieces and parts.
That’s one of the reasons that the results were inconclusive. You can’t make a definitive finding when there’s a lack of physical evidence.
That’s the first important point, and here’s the second. In Mary Wilson’s book (The History of Lake Mills), she writes, “A number of persons who knew Mr. Fargo will tell the same story - he shot Addie!” (page 274).
Mary Wilson doesn’t say, Enoch shot Addie in the head. She says, Enoch shot Addie.
I asked the medical examiner, if there’d be any evidence now - 110 years later - of a gunshot wound to the chest, and he said no.
Further, he said that “most of Addie’s ribs were broken,” (that’s another direct quote), and it’s likely that the breaks happened post-mortem, but it’s impossible to know for sure. Her remains were in very poor condition, and that made it difficult to test for much of anything.
Poor Addie, buried in that shallow grave - above the frost line - was not far from returning to dust.
“It hard to make sense of whether or not there was foul play,” he told me.
And he added, forensic science “is like a camera. The further away you get from the subject, the harder it is to see.”
And 1901 is a long, long way from 2011.
He added, “That’s the problem with these contemporary criminal dramas like CSI. They create unrealistically high expectations.”
In conclusion, Addie’s autopsy was inconclusive.
Again, that simply means that the autopsy did not prove that Addie was murdered (due to both the lack of skeletal remains and their poor condition), and it did not prove that she was not murdered.
Several people have sent thoughtful emails saying that they’re sorry I wasn’t able to get “closure,” and while I appreciate their kindness, the fact is, I’m glad I did this. Finding her buried in a shallow grave, coupled with the discovery that she was wearing dress shoes was enough for me to know - I did the right thing.
Further, I’ve also received many notes from people who knew Mary Wilson personally, and they affirm that she was a trustworthy source, and that she would not have fabricated such a fantastic story.
Did Enoch murder Addie? Mary Wilson certainly thought so.
The autopsy was inconclusive, but based on the amazing paper trail that Oatway left behind, it is clear that Addie Hoyt did not die of diphtheria, which begs the question, what happened to Addie, that those present at her death felt they had to fabricate the story of diphtheria. What were they trying to cover up? And there is also the fact that Enoch remarried seven months after Addie died, and in fact, he married the woman that had been living in the Fargo Mansion when Addie died.
To learn more about Addie, click here.
You can find Addie on Facebook. Search for Addie Hoyt Fargo in Lake Mills.
To learn about Addie and Annie (her sister), click here.
Addie in 1894, two years before she married Enoch.
Addie (left) was 15 when this photo was taken (in 1887), and her life was already half over. She was 29 years old when she was killed. On the right is Addie's sister, Anna Hoyt (my great-grandmother). Anna (right) was 21 and was already married to Wilbur Whitmore and living in Denver, Colorado.
Addie's head stone in Lake Mills is now a cenotaph. Her remains are now in Norfolk with me, and the rest of her family. No more shallow graves for Addie.
Some of the nasty notes I get from anonymous trolls try to tell me that this is not a shallow grave. Given that the frost line in Wisconsin is 3-4 feet, and given that the traditional burial depth is 6-8 feet, I'd have to say that this picture is worth a whole lot of words.
Turns out, we didn't need those ladders and buckets and ropes to excavate the grave. It was about knee-deep in places. This was alarming. Assuming a coffin height of 18", the top of Addie's coffin was only about 16" below the grass.
Enoch was so arrogant he didn't even worry about getting caught in his lies. Despite strongly worded state laws, the Fargo Mansion was never quarantined or fumigated, following the "tragic loss" of Addie to diphtheria. You'd think that he'd at least follow the law, to create the appearance of diphtheria, especially since he'd lost his nine-year-old daughter (Myrtle) in 1887, when quarantine laws were not followed expeditiously. Myrtle (born 1878) contracted Typhoid (and died from it) when she got into a neighbor's burn pile and played with an infected doll. She was nine years old.
Addie, shortly before her death.
Addie in 1896, and five years later, 1901. Life with Enoch was very, very hard.
Was she beaten? It's certainly possible. Look at her swollen lip and her nose and her right eye.
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