All St. Elmo was greatly excited last night by the report that a Negro had played the role of an expert strangler and had made a fiendish attack upon Miss Nevada Taylor, the 18-year-old daughter of William Taylor, superintendent of Forest Hills cemetery and bad accomplished his brutal purpose.
For hours an armed crowd of citizens searched the vicinity of the crime for some clue to the strangler, but at a late hour last night the quest had proven fruitless.
The story of the attach was learned from Miss Taylor herself,
and was substantially as follows:
Miss Taylor is an employee at the W.W. Brooks grocery, on Market Street, and makes her home with her father at a cottage in the cemetery. Last night she caught the 6 o'clock car for home and arrived at her stopping place near the Smith marble yard at about 6:30. She alighted from the car and had taken but a few steps toward her home when she was attracted by the sound of footsteps behind her.
Before Miss Taylor could turn her pursuer had thrown a strap around her neck from behind, and he drew it so tight as to almost shut off her breath. She said that she screamed for help and thought her alarm was loud enough to attract some person to her relief. The assailant, whom she had found by this time to be a Negro, warned her not to scream again or to make any noise, threatening to cut her throat if she disobeyed.
CHOKED INTO INSENSIBILITY
Miss Taylor described how she began to struggle to effect her release and how the Negro then drew the strap so tight around her throat as to choke her into insensibility. The next thing she knew she was lying by the fence of the marble yard, her clothing all disturbed and a feeling of torture in the region of her throat. She crawled from her position on the ground, grasped the fence and a little later recovered sufficiently to make her way home.
Arriving at home she told her father and brother what had happened and within a few minutes the alarm had been given throughout the neighborhood.
As if by magic the citizens congregated, each one armed with some sort of firearm and the search began with the ill-suppressed purpose of dealing death to the brute if he should be caught.
Not later than 7 o'clock the crime was reported to the county jail. Even from the meagre facts reported, Capt. Shipp determined that it was a deed horrible beyond mention, and he in person took charge of a posse of deputies that started out on the case. The bloodhounds were taken to the scene and before 8 o'clock they were started on the supposed trail of the Negro, but when the street car tracks were reached the trail was lost. The same ground was covered several times with the same result.
The word had been sent from the Taylor home that the exact spot where the crime was committed could be located by finding the young lady's umbrella. A brief search resulted in finding the umbrella and a comb from her hair and from that spot the dogs took up the trail, but with the result stated above.
BUT SLIGHTEST OF CLUES
There is but the slightest of clues as to the identity of the young lady's assailant. The most valuable of these slight evidences is the strap with which the Negro strangled his victim. It is a piece of raw hide, twenty-five inches in length and from one-half to three-fourths of an inch in width. There is a split in one end while it is narrowed to nearly a point at the other, so shaped as to insert easily into the split and it is thought that the strap may have been fashioned for the specific purpose for which it was used last night. The strap is in possession of Capt. Shipp and he hopes it may become a useful clue in the case.
Miss Taylor had opportunity to gain a lucid description of the fiend who assailed her. She said that her impressions of him was that he was a black Negro about her own height, which would be about five feet six inches. She thought he wore a dark suit of clothes and was sure that he had on a black hat.
SHERIFF SHIPP OFFERS REWARD
Sheriff Shipp last night offered a reward of $50 for any information from whatever source that would lead to the capture of this Negro. This offer will be in force until the man is finally captured, there being a determination to keep up a search until the guilty Negro is located.
After the arrival at her home last night, Miss Taylor's father at once summoned Dr. H. B. Wilson. The visit for the physician developed evidence that corroborated every statement she had made concerning the attack. There was a livid red streak around her neck, which was found to be an exact print of the strap afterward found. There were marks on her body that gave proof of rough handling when the Negro threw her over the fence and , worst of all, it was found that the Negro had accomplished his devilish purpose.
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