Lydia Trueblood earned the nickname “the Black Widow” by marrying six men and killing four of them. Each husband was murdered so that Lydia could collect on the life insurance policies she had insisted they purchase.
Robert C. Dooley met Lydia in her home-state of Idaho and asked her to be his bride. She agreed, and soon after they were married they had a daughter named Lorraine. The family lived with Robert’s brother, Edward, until 1915, when tragedy seemed to repeatedly strike Lydia’s life. First, Lorraine passed away unexpectedly. Soon after, Edward was also found dead. Later that year, Robert died, leaving Lydia as the sole survivor of the family. Typhoid fever was thought to be the cause behind the deaths, and Lydia cashed in on her late husband’s insurance policy.
Within two years, Lydia had met and married a man named William G. McHaffle. The couple moved to Montana, where they resided for a little over a year. By 1918, McHaffle had passed away, seemingly due to complications from influenza.
Tragedy appeared to plague Lydia. In 1919 she married a third man, Harlan Lewis, in Montana, who was found dead less than three months later. Lydia moved back to Idaho, where she quickly met and married Edward Meyer. Meyer was pronounced dead from typhoid within a month of their wedding ceremony.
Suspicion about the deaths of four husbands over such a short time led to an investigation. Earl Dooley, a chemist from Idaho, discovered the deadly poison, arsenic as the cause of Edward Meyer’s death. Tests were then performed on the exhumed bodies of her former husbands, her brother-in-law, and her daughter. Traces of arsenic were found in all of them. Police went looking for Lydia, but she had fled the state.
During the investigation, Lydia moved to California and married a fifth husband, Paul Southard. She attempted to convince him to take out a large insurance policy, but since he was covered by the US Military, he refused. The couple was transferred to Hawaii, where authorities caught up with and arrested Lydia. Before long, Lydia escaped from prison and married Harry Whitlock, her sixth and final husband. She was discovered and taken back into custody before she was able to strike again and spent the rest of her life behind bars.
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