The 1909 Murder of Ocey Snead | Part Two

The second part of the mysterious 1909 “bathtub murder” in New Jersey.

Alexa Baczak


If you’re here, I’m assuming you’ve read part one. If not, let me help you:

This ended up being a longer story than I anticipated, so I needed to split it into two or have a 30-minute long article no one would sit through. The article was almost 4000 words and I hadn’t even gotten to the murder yet. Decisions needed to be made.

Especially because it puts you through the emotional wringer.

After my last article, I had Rick Maitri reach out to me. He’s creating the movie, I, Miss Virginia and we discussed a lot about this case. The movie is independently created and is about the life of Virginia Wardlaw, who is thought to be the most likely to have murdered Ocey. Here’s his incredible Facebook group and a link to more movie information. He helped a great deal with my research for part two.

We left off in part one after Ocey was imprisoned by her mother and aunts and she thought her husband was dead. I’ll get right into where we left off.


I’m titling this imprisonment because that’s exactly what it was.

Ocey was pregnant, so it’s not like she would have had anywhere to go after being taken to Brooklyn. She was under house arrest and entirely at the mercy of her mother and aunts.

She believed her husband to be dead. In fact, even the public thought he was dead, and the sisters tried to collect his life insurance policy! Since there was no proof he was dead, they couldn’t collect. It turned out they weren’t really sure where he was either, and it wouldn’t be until after Ocey’s death he’d be tracked down.

After her husband’s “death,” Ocey’s condition understandably deteriorated. She gave birth to her second child, who was taken away from her almost immediately and put into an orphanage.