On August 8th, 1964, 79-year-old Ethel Hughes summoned police to her Elwood, Indiana house after earning a series of frightening phone calls. Police reacted to 704 South 24th Street, Ethel’s modest, three-room home, where she resided alone.
The elderly widow described to police that an anonymous male caller had called her numerous times and said “obscene things” to her. A report was filed, nonetheless, only days later Ethel once again received a call from the exact anonymous man, this time threatening her life.
Ethel Called The Police
Over the next few days, Ethel called the police numerous times to report “strange noises” coming from within her house in the late hours of the night. Police would react each time, nonetheless, they never discovered anything extraordinary.
On September 26th, Ethel’s daughter, Eleanor, called her mum many times and received no answer. Worried, she drove to her mum’s house soon before midnight. When she received no reaction after knocking, she tried the door to discover it locked. Using her spare key, Eleanor went inside the small dark house. In the back room of the home, Ethel’s bedroom, Eleanor discovered her mum lying on her bed, covered in blood. Eleanor instantly called the police.
Ethel Was Found
Ethel was discovered lying face-up on her bed with a pillow covering her face. She had been harshly whacked in the head, face, chest, and torso and had a huge laceration on her forehead. Ethel’s clothes had been ripped, and she had been sexually attacked, nonetheless, police specified that she was not raped. A flashlight and a ball-peen hammer were recovered at the spectacle that was thought to have been utilized in the attack. Ethel’s ultimate cause of demise was due to her liver rupturing from the beating she endured during the attack.
Police instantly ruled robbery out as an intention. Nothing seemed to have been disturbed in Ethel’s house and nothing was missing. They did nonetheless discover that the receiver on Ethel’s telephone had been pulled from its cord. Combined with the fact that they discovered no indication of forced entry, they assumed that Ethel had let someone inside use the phone, probably someone she knew, before being assaulted.
The last time anyone had talked to Ethel had been on September 25th, the day before. Around 9:00 pm, Ethel called Eleanor to chat for a bit. According to Eleanor, nothing looked out of the ordinary. Around 9:30 pm, Ethel called a friend. According to the friend, Ethel conversed about the man who had called and terrorized her. Having understood the identity of the caller, Ethel said to her friend, “Now that I realize who it is, I’m not as worried as I was.” Ethel, nonetheless, never disclosed the identity of the man.
Ethel was born in Franklin, Indiana nonetheless she was a longtime inhabitant of Elwood. She had been wedded once to a man named Benjamin, nonetheless, he perished in 1932. Together, they had had five children, four of which were still alive when Ethel was killed. She never remarried.
Ethel was a 50-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star, a “Freemason organization with stated objectives of the charity, fraternity, education, and science.” She was also a very enthusiastic member of her church. According to all accounts, she had no known foe.
The motive behind Ethel’s brutal killing has never been ascertained and her case stays unsolved.