Sunday, April 2, 2017

The In-Laws Become Out-Laws: the case of Mike Dugmanics

In the middle of Missouri, there's a town called Rolla.  You might know it as the home base of the Missouri University of Science and Technology.  Years ago, it was an area of farms and fields and large acreage along with small hamlets tucked in between.  The 1930s was a particularly hard time for those in the middle of the nation.  So much depended on their ability to hold down jobs, pay bills and keep up with the necessities.  Thankfully, the nation pulled through.  But as the nation started to gain strength, there were still those who languished behind.

The Dugmanics family settled in and around Rolla, having immigrated from Hungary in the early 1900s.  Everything seemed fine.  Joe and Mary were living with their family in a modest home.  Mary suffered from a rhuematic illness.

images.google.com, free images, memorial day


It was Memorial Day, 1938. The Dugmanics family had prepared a nice meal. Mary and Joe were playing host to Joe's brother, Mike, for the holiday.  The family set the table at 1:30 in the afternoon, and then called everyone into the dining room. Mary, 58, had been playing the accordion in the front room.  Mike passed a corner of a room on his way to the dining room where he picked up a rifle.

Upon entering the dining room he saw Mary, his sister-in-law.  He raised the rifle and shot her through the head, just below the temple.  The bullet exited the other side of her head at the same spot.  Mary's optic nerves were damaged, and she had become totally blind.  She was tended to by her family and medical persons, and taken to the Rolla Hospital.

bloodhounds, free images.google.com


Mike exited the house and left on foot.  The police came to look for him and brought bloodhounds.  But they were unable to find him.  Two days later, his brother Frank alerted family that Mike was at his home, just 4 miles away from Joe's house.  The sheriff and state troopers arrested Mike there.

Friends of the family were interviewed to find out what might have caused Mike to assault his sister-in-law.  It was reported that at one time, Mike was heard to have said that if Mary were his wife, he would shoot her to put her out of her misery from her rheumatic affliction.

Mike was charged with felonious assault with intent to kill.  But family said that Mike was really never quite right.  He, in fact, was a bit odd.  The States Attorney said that an examination of Mike would take place to determine if he could be considered mentally ill.  If that was  the case, he would be committed to a State Institution.  Mike waived a preliminary hearing and could not post the $5000 bail.

Missouri State Hospital for the Insane, Fulton, Missouri, image.google.com

Mary did survive her injuries. Mike was committed to the Missouri State Hospital in Fulton, Missouri, diagnosed with psychosis.   Joe recovered from the shock of it all, but passed away just two years later at age 64, in 1940, from cancer of the throat..  Mary survived him, until September 1952, passing of senility and having severe arthritic deformity and gangrene in both legs.  Mike lived out his years at the State Hospital  doing laundry work until July 1952, where he passed from pneumonia.

Frank, the remaining brother, lived until age 80, when he committed suicide in a tool shed next to his home by shooting himself in the head with a 12 gauge shotgun, in November of 1959.

There's a lot of pain in this family.  Let's hope that they all rest in peace.

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