Encyclopedia Titanica


New York Times

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Check Up Statements as to How Guggenheim Heirs Fell From Roof of Hotel
Wants to Learn Her Version of the Tragedy---Criticizes the Removal of the Bodies
Banton Confers With the Medical Examiner---Plans No Action Pending the Investigation
The police reopened yesterday the investigation into the deaths of the two little children of Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Waldman, who were killed Friday afternoon when they fell from the roof of the sixteen-story Hotel Surrey, 20 East Seventy-sixth Street. The police had closed the investigation Saturday with the statement that the deaths were accidental.

The action was taken after Dr. Charles Norris, Chief Medical Examiner, conferred with District Attorney Joab H. Banton about the case. Dr. Norris announced he would question witnesses tomorrow afternoon. He said he would ask Mrs. Waldman, who is the daughter of the late Benjamin Guggenheim, her version of the tragedy. He said he would try to have Mrs. Waldman at his office, but if she is not able to be there, he would question her at her home.

Wants to Learn Facts

Referring to reports of the tragedy in the press, Dr. Norris said he thought it fair to have an official inquiry establish all the facts.

"If Mrs. Waldman was correctly quoted, I can't understand how she sat on the parapet overlooking the street without falling over," said Dr. Norris. "I visited the scene, looked from the rooftop and grew dizzy.

"I am told Mrs. Waldman gave several versions of what happened on the roof at the time of the accident. I want her to tell me personally, if she is able to do so, just how she tried to keep the children from falling, and just what occurred."

The early police version was that Mrs. Waldman, who lately returned from Europe, had gone to the penthouse apartment on the hotel to visit Mrs. Cornelius B. Love, her cousin. Mrs. Love was out. Mrs. Waldman and the children walked about the roof garden and, according ing [sic] to the police, Terence, four and a half years old, and Benjamin, fourteen months old, eluded their mother and fell to the low roof of an adjoining building.

The bodies of the children were removed before any one from the Medical Examiner's office arrived. At this action Dr. Norris expressed strong disapproval yesterday. He said the law required that permission be obtained from the Medical Examiner's office before such action was taken, except in cases where a body is liable to obstruct traffic or cause other disorders.

Checking Up Statements

Deputy Inspector Arthur Carey and Detective William I. Jackson of the Homicide Bureau are checking up on the statements obtained by the police on the afternoon the children were killed. Those who made statements will be questioned also by Dr. Norris. The Medical Examiner said he would question Joseph Huyler, of 6,510 Woodside Avenue, Queens, the painter who found the bodies; C. Eugene Hames, manager of the hotel; Mrs. Love's maid, and Patrolman Charles Clair of the East Sixty-seventh Street station who was the first police officer to reach the scene.

District Attorney Banton said yesterday he would take no action unless Dr. Norris's report should justify such procedure.

At the Hotel Plaza where Mrs. Waldman made her home it was said orders had been issued not to put through any telephone calls to the Waldman apartment or allow visitors there. A hotel detective said he had been requested not to permit reporters to question any of her relatives.

When Inspector Carey and Detective Jackson called at the Plaza last night they were told Mrs. Waldman was under the care of a physician and too ill to talk to any one. They left without being able to get any statement from her.

Related Biographies

Benjamin Guggenheim


Mark Baber, USA


Encyclopedia Titanica (2004) POLICE ACT TO SIFT WALDMAN DEATHS (1) (New York Times, Tuesday 23rd October 1928, ref: #3735, published 13 September 2004, generated 25th October 2021 05:01:30 AM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/police-act-sift-waldman-deaths-2.html