The Murderous Mother
Nov. 21, 1907
The woman who threw her baby from an inbound train was arrested at her mother’s home at 12th Street and San Pedro after the girl's nurse contacted authorities, saying that she read about the incident in the newspaper and suspected the woman because she took the baby on a trip while leaving all the infant’s clothes at home.
Louise [or Louisa] Williams, who is in custody in San Bernardino, says the baby’s father “is a worthless mulatto, sometimes employed as a porter on the Salt Lake Overland trains,” according to The Times.
Despite initial reports that a passenger saw the infant thrown from the train and leaped off to rescue her, The Times says that the baby girl was found by a tramp who contacted Mr. Mattock, a nearby rancher. Mattock was afraid to move the injured baby without official permission, so left her there until he could contact police.
Mattock took the baby to his home, but she died of her injuries shortly after a doctor arrived.
On Feb. 19, 1908, Louise Williams pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Cramer B. Morris, her attorney, noted that Williams was only 17 and said she threw the baby off the train because “she was suddenly overwhelmed with the shame of meeting her mother and sisters at Los Angeles, who had not learned of her ruin.”
On March 2, 1908, Williams was sentenced to five years in San Quentin, despite testimony that she was mentally unstable. “After sentence was pronounced, women in the courtroom broke into heartbroken cries, but the girl smiled, apparently unaffected, The Times said.
e-mail: lmharnisch (AT) gmail.com