|3. Everything / Law & Crime|
3. Everything / History & Politics / Historical Figures
The Case of Carl Von Cosel
Dr Carl Tä nzler aka Carl Von Cosel was born in Dresden, Germany in 1877 and emigrated to the United States in 1926, settling in Florida and finding work as a radiologist.
During his employment, Tä nzler met Elena Milagro Hoyos, a tuberculosis patient in her early twenties. It is said that Tä nzler became obsessed with the young woman and when she died in October 1931, his obsession continued. With the permission of her family, Tä nzler paid for an above-ground mausoleum to be built in order to house Elena's body. Nobody knew of his intentions.
For two years, Tä nzler visited the body, preserving it with formaldehyde and other chemicals.
In 1933, Tä nzler took the corpse from the mausoleum and into his home. The body was beginning to deteriorate, and so Tä nzler took other measures to preserve it. He replaced Elena's rotting eyes with glass ones and strung her bones together with piano wire. He replaced her decomposing skin with silk cloth soaked in wax and made her a wig from the hair falling from her rotting scalp. He filled her abdomen and chest cavity with rags so that she might keep her original form and he dressed her in stockings and gloves. It is said that Tä nzler even kept a whole wardrobe in order to dress her.
Tä nzler kept the body in his own bed and slept by her side.
In 1940, Elena's sister Florinda discovered the body in Tä nzler's home and notified the authorities. Tä nzler was arrested and was to await trial for 'maliciously disturbing' the grave of Elena Hoyos.
Public interest in the case was huge and the Dean-Lopez Funeral Home put the body on display before it was returned to the Key West cemetery. Later Elena's body was moved to an unmarked grave so as to prevent further tampering.
Tä nzler was released on bond from jail on 12 October, 1940 after friends paid the necessary $1,000. He was set for trial in the county criminal court in November 1940. Although Tä nzler had been arrested, he could not be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had run out for grave robbing (the statutory limitation was two years).
There are stories of the public sympathising with Tä nzler and his undying love though there is no written evidence of this.
Tä nzler died at his home in 1952.
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