Spooky Washington Story for October

This is one of the most beautiful lakes in the area and we’ve driven around it a few times. Unfortunately, dark history surfaced from the lake’s depths. This is a true story of murder, a body turned to soap and the hunt for the killer.

The story began when a woman’s body surfaced at the lake in 1940. Her body was wrapped in blankets and tied with rope. She had apparently been strangled. Her face was unrecognizable, but her body had not decomposed. Her flesh had turned into a soap like substance due to a process called saponification. The minerals in the lake interacted with the fat and near freezing temperatures in the lake had preserved and transformed the body.

The woman was eventually identified by dental records as Hallie Latham Illingworth, a waitress from Port Angeles. She had been missing since Christmas 1937. She had married her third husband, Montgomery J. Illingworth just one year prior to her disappearance. They fought violently and police were called to break up fights. Hallie sometimes showed up to work with bruises and black eyes. Shortly after her disappearance, Monty moved to California with a woman he was rumored to have had an affair with.

After her body was discovered, Monty was taken into custody and put on trial for her murder. It was looking like he’d get off until a key piece of evidence was presented. The rope the Hallie was tied up with matched rope that Monty had borrowed from a shopkeeper at the lake. Monty was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison at the Washington State Penitentiary. He served nine years in prison and was paroled in 1951. He died in 1974 in Los Alamitos, CA.

Lake Cresent is an especially deep and cold lake that has a reputation for never giving up its dead. Because of currents and underwater geography, there could be hundreds of soapy bodies piled up under the waves.

~ by accordingtoleanne on October 13, 2010.

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