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Bernard J. Lotka and Tillie Michalski Trials: 1943

Baby's Body Found At Motor Court

On or around April 1, Lotka was accepted into the Air Corps. Then, on the morning of April 2, a gruesome discovery was made. Shortly before 10 A.M., E. P. Merrick, the manager of Merrick's Motor Home, and Raymond Chapman, the motor court's caretaker, noticed that no firewood had recently been used at the young couple's cabin. Their suspicions aroused, they entered and found William's body stuffed in a brown leather overnight bag on the shelf of the bathroom.

The police were called and two officers immediately went to Camp White to interview Lotka. The sergeant made a full confession and accompanied the police back to the motor home to reenact the crime. Based on information from Lotka, Michalski was arrested a short time later at the Union train depot in Portland, Oregon, nearly 300 miles away.

Lotka signed two statements confessing to the murder of his son. Supposedly, he and Michalski had "many times discussed getting rid of the child, and it was agreed between us to do so." Lotka also claimed that he killed the baby because "it was illegitimate and would never have a chance in society." Furthermore, he had no remorse for what he had done. "I don't consider I killed anyone, only my own flesh and blood, and the baby is better off this way."

According to Lotka's confession, he took Michalski on April 1 to the Greyhound station in Medford at about 8:30 P.M. SO she could purchase a bus ticket to Portland. From there, she would go by train back to Cleveland. (According to Michalski, she decided on March 28 to return home.) Lotka also stated that, as far as he knew, Michalski thought he was only going to give the baby away. Instead, the sergeant returned to the cabin and smothered William with a blanket. One hour later, Lotka calmly returned to the bus station to see Tillie off. When asked, he told her that he had done nothing to the child.

Lotka further confessed that, after Michalski's bus was gone, he purchased an overnight bag, returned to the cabin, stuffed the baby's body into it, and then returned to Camp White. It was his intention to return the next day to bury the child, but the corpse was found before he could act.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Bernard J. Lotka and Tillie Michalski Trials: 1943 - Child Of A Secret Relationship, Baby's Body Found At Motor Court, Both Parents Face Death Penalty