Detroit Free Press / Newspaper Articles

The Detroit Free Press: 7/17/29

POLICE AT SEA IN AX SLAYINGS
Admit They are Without Evidence To Go on With Investigation

Two weeks after the slaying of Benny Evangelist, a faith healer, and his wife and four children in their St. Aubin avenue home, the combined forces of the homicide and blackhand squads of the police department admitted yesterday that they are without evidence on which to continue an investigation. The only clues to the identity of the murderer are two slightly smudged fingerprints which the police insist were left by him. Shadow upon the efficacy of this evidence is cast by the fact that the house, soon after the hacked bodies were found, was invaded by dozens of officers of the law, coroner’s deputies and assistants, the clever curious, the prosecuting attorney and the newspaper men.

Prophesied Own Death
These prints have been broadcast to the police offi cers throughout the states and Canada where they will contribute to the identification of the murderer only if he falls into the hands of the law on some other charge. Evangelist was almost beheaded by an axman in his study. His wife and children were killed in the same manner in their beds. The bodies were found approximately eight hours later on July 3.

Some persons who have perused the “bible” which Evangelist wrote and which betrays religious insanity, believe he prophesied his death. They suggest that, motivated by such delusions, he may have incited one of his followers to commit the crime. The singular ferocity of the murders, however, introduces the theory that the family may have been dispatched out of motives of revenge, probably by some dissatisfied patron of the faith healer.

“Fame” Spreads Afar

It is known that stories of his “curies” had penetrated the Italian colonies of other large cities and that often scores of ailing men and women waited upon him in his home.
Evangelist’s religious effusions were tinged with morbidity. Vampires and much blood are to be found in his “bible.” In the cellar of his home was a gallery of crude and more or less
horrible stuffed figures representing the various powers of his universe. It is the general opinion of those familiar with the details of the case, that the murders undoubtedly tied up with Evangelist’s assumption of the role of prophet. Until about four years ago, he was a carpenter.

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