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 Anna Shaw

Anna Shaw

Keytesville, Chariton County, Missouri, USA
Death 5 Feb 1958 (aged 65)
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah, USA
Burial Twin Falls, Twin Falls County, Idaho, USA
Plot Pinehurst Gardens, Lot 441
Memorial ID 1484 · View Source
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Criminal. Known as Lyda Anna Mae Trueblood, The Black Widow, Lady Bluebeard, and America's first female serial killer. Her life started out like any other normal child. She was born and reared in Keytesville, Missouri, sixty miles northeast of Kansas City. The oldest daughter of William and Laura Trueblood. The family were all church going people and Lyda herself went to church every Sunday. In 1912 at the age of 21, she would marry her first husband, Robert C. Dooley, together they would live with his brother Ed and their infant daughter Loraine, on their farm outside Twin Falls. Her brother in law would be the first victim, he had taken out a life insurance policy payable to Robert and herself. Robert would follow his brother to the grave only months later and her small daughter. All three would be in the ground in 1915. She moved on to her next victim, William McHaffie, she married him in 1917., by 1919 she was married again to Harlen C. Lewis, after four months of marriage he was put in his grave. Now, Mrs. Lyda Trueblood Dooley McHaffie Lewis, was to be Mrs. Lyda Trueblood Dooley, McHaffie, Lewis, Meyer, her husband Edward Meyer, whom she married in 1920. Edward was a ranch foreman, strong and healthy, so many wondered how he came to his sudden death only a month after their marriage. Sheriff E.R. Sherman and County Attorney Frank L. Stephan eventually ordered the exhumation of Meyer and Sherman assigned Deputy Sheriff Virgil Ormsby to the case. Ormsby, who had known Lyda since she was a child, relentlessly backtracked through Lyda's life, piecing the puzzle together as he found the clues. He retraced Lyda's path to Montana, where he discovered Lyda had married Lewis, and that he, too, had died, leaving a $10,000 insurance policy to his wife. He further backtracked to revisit the McHaffies' former home in Montana and discovered a large quantity of fly paper containing arsenic in the basement. With the evidence found by Ormsby, Sherman back in Twin Falls arranged to have the bodies of Lyda's victims exhumed. Arsenic was found in all but her daughter's body, and a warrant was issued for Lyda's arrest. Ormsby continued the trail, following leads to Mexico, then to Los Angeles, where Lyda Trueblood, Dooley, McHaffie, Lewis, Meyer had become Mrs. Paul Southard. Paul was a chief petty officer stationed in Hawaii. Authorities in Honolulu arrested Lyda and held her until Ormsby arrived. Following a six-week trial, she was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to ten years to life imprisonment in the Old Idaho State Penitentiary. Lyda escaped from prison in May of 1931, taking up residence in Colorado and becoming the housekeeper of Harry Whitlock, her next husband, she would marry him in March of 1932. Harry would actually help authorities capture Lyda in Kansas in July 1932, she was returned to the penitentiary in August of the same year. In October of 1941 Lyda was released on probation and received her final pardon in 1942. It was determined that her motive for murder was money, since she had taken out and collected on the life insurance policies of each of her dead husbands. Lyda Trueblood, Dooley, McHaffie, Lewis, Meyer, Southard, Whitlock, eventually became Mrs. Hal Shaw, her seventh husband, who disappeared several years later. Lyda died of a heart attack in 1958 in Salt Lake City.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1484
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Anna Shaw (16 Oct 1892–5 Feb 1958), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1484, citing Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery, Twin Falls, Twin Falls County, Idaho, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .