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Anna Kuzeff
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Birth: Nov. 8, 1924
Fort Wayne
Allen County
Indiana, USA
Death: May 22, 1944
Fort Wayne
Allen County
Indiana, USA

Feb. 5, 1994
The News Sentinel, Ft. Wayne, IN
By RICHARD BATTIN

ANNA KUZEFF

The evening of May 22, 1944, was rainy with temperatures in the high 60s. Anna Kuzeff, 20, worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift at the General Electric Supercharger plant on Broadway. Every night at about 10:30, she walked the seven-tenths of a mile from her home on the 2400 block of Fillmore Street north to Taylor Street to catch the bus down to Broadway. On this Monday night in May, she didn't make it. Shortly before noon Tuesday, a neighbor, Glenn Timmis, was driving his son home for lunch from Study School. He spotted Kuzeff's body in a field. Police were summoned to an area that was then just within the city's western limits - about where Portage Middle School is today. About 100 yards south of Taylor Street, Kuzeff had been grabbed and dragged into a field on the west side of Fillmore, less than a half mile from her house. Her neck was fractured, indicating she had been strangled. She had been beaten on the face and neck. There was a puncture wound under her chin. Bruises on her nose and mouth indicated she had been struck with great force. One upper front tooth was broken halfway down from the gumline. She had been raped, apparently after she was killed, the coroner said. Police believe Kuzeff's attacker hid behind a log and jumped out at her as she walked by. Trampled grass behind the log and in a spot 100 feet into the field indicated she fought furiously. Kuzeff's face was matted with blood and there was blood on her arms. Buttons were torn from her overall-style uniform, which was ripped down the front. Her bra was torn and pushed up around her neck. Her saddle shoes were found in the field about 50 feet west of Fillmore Street. Her handbag and lunch sack were found closer to the street. The lunch sack was split but still intact. It contained the lunch prepared by her stepmother, Irene: a peeled orange, two carrots, some lettuce and two pieces of rye bread. The handbag contained a small purse with $1.36 in change. It also held several candy bars, two mirrors, a lipstick, powder puff, compact, pins, pencils and an eraser. And it contained a matchbook with a message from the Toledo Bible company printed on the cover: "This book of everlasting safety matches will guide you through the Valley of Death." Anna Kuzeff was a graduate of Central High School, class of 1943. In school she belonged to the Girls Club and the Girls Athletic Association. A few years before her death she had a "crush" on a boy, her family said, but it didn't work out and she didn't see anyone after that. She spent most of her free time at home or at the Neighborhood House, a community center on John Street. Kuzeff's stepmother told police Kuzeff recently had complained about a man bothering her at work. She warned Kuzeff to be careful. "You better tell your foreman about him," she told her stepdaughter. "The man might be dangerous." Kuzeff promised she would, but neither of her foremen recalled her telling them anything about a bothersome man. Kuzeff did not identify the man to her stepmother. A 15-year-old Journal-Gazette delivery boy told police he had seen a stranger in the neighborhood on several occasions. He saw nothing unusual the day Kuzeff's body was found. Two women who also worked at G.E. passed the area about 10:45 the night Kuzeff was killed - it must have been just after Kuzeff was grabbed. They told police they had heard nothing. ''We were making a lot of noise ourselves," one of them said. "We couldn't see a thing it was so dark. We stepped in one of those (pot) holes and we screamed and squealed and thought somebody would be calling the police." Nobody did. A little more than three hours after Anna Kuzeff's body was found, an employee of Essex Wire spotted a man's body floating in the St. Marys River, just north of the Swinney Park Bridge. The dead man was Clyde Scherrer, 54, a janitor who had lived in the 2300 block of South Calhoun Street. He had worked at General Electric, just like Kuzeff. The obvious question was whether his death was connected to Kuzeff's. The newspapers said his body was found just three-quarters of a mile from the woman's. In fact, it is more than twice that as the crow flies. There were scratches on his body and face. There were also teeth prints on the middle finger of his left hand, said Deputy Coroner Dr. D. R. Benninghoff. Measurements were taken of Kuzeff's teeth. (Remember, one had been broken.) Captain of Detectives John Taylor almost immediately announced there was no connection to the Kuzeff case. Benninghoff said Scherrer had been in the water six to eight hours before he was found. There was no identification on the body. Scherrer's wife, Millie, told police she had last seen her husband at 1 p.m. Monday, May 22. Scherrer worked 3 to 11 p.m. at General Electric. Millie Scherrer and her sister were leaving for Bluffton that afternoon She said her husband was in good spirits when she left. Millie Scherrer and her sister returned home about 7:30 that night. The newspapers were on the front porch, and the light was on in the kitchen. Her husband hadn't eaten the lunch she had prepared for him before she left. General Electric reported that Scherrer hadn't worked that night - or all of the previous week, in fact. A guard at the plant said he'd heard Scherrer was "mowing grass for some well-to-do people instead of working at the plant." Millie Scherrer said she didn't know her husband hadn't been going to GE. He'd been leaving the house at his regular time, 2 p.m., and returning as always around midnight. When she last saw him on the afternoon of May 22, in fact, he had his GE badge on the left side of his shirt, just like always, she said. There was no badge on the corpse. Police found a pocket knife, two keys, 55 cents a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, two sticks of chewing gum and a white handkerchief with an Army laundry mark. On Saturday, May 27, 1944, Dr. Mendenhall officially ruled that Clyde Scherrer killed himself for "reasons unknown." The search for Anna Kuzeff's killer, meanwhile, continued. Shortly after her slaying, three men were taken to Indianapolis for lie detector tests. The relatively new device wasn't yet available in Fort Wayne. In June, detectives grilled a magazine salesman from Saginaw, Mich. He was freed after a polygraph examination. In October, a 19-year-old ex-sailor from Elgin, Ill., under indictment for two rapes in that city, confessed to Kuzeff's slaying. He said he had come to Fort Wayne because he had heard it was a "fast city" with plenty of girls and night life. Detectives doubted his story. He claimed on the afternoon of the slaying he had seen the movie "Casablanca" at a Fort Wayne theater. The 2-year-old movie wasn't showing at any city movie house that day. A month after his confession, it was proved he was at work on the day of the slaying. Police assumed one man killed both Kuzeff that spring and Haaga the previous winter. A summer slaying would soon be added to the list. 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Sekula Kuzeff (1877 - 1967)
  Katherine Duroff Kuzeff (1892 - 1930)
 
 Siblings:
  Hope Kuzeff Cook (1915 - 1990)*
  Boris Kuzeff (1917 - 1970)*
  Olga Kuzeff Reckeweg (1919 - 2004)*
  Carl Kuzeff (1922 - 2011)*
  Anna Kuzeff (1924 - 1944)
  Virginia Kuzeff (1927 - 1927)*
  Helen Kuzeff Riebersal (1929 - 1995)*
  James Kuzeff (1932 - 2012)**
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Burial:
Prairie Grove Cemetery
Fort Wayne
Allen County
Indiana, USA
 
Created by: JC
Record added: Oct 31, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 31023502
Anna Kuzeff
Added by: Verla Bailey
 
Anna Kuzeff
Added by: Steve
 
Anna Kuzeff
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Barbara Baker Anderson
 
 
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In Your Special Memory ♥.....
- Steve
 Added: May. 22, 2016
In Your Special Memory ♥.....
- Steve
 Added: May. 22, 2016
In honor of your upcoming Angel Day
- Esther Kinder
 Added: May. 20, 2016
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