BOY'S HEAD CUT OFF BY TRAIN OF CARS. ~ Either Rolled Onto Tracks or Fell While Catching Ride in the Burlington Yards.

May 25, 1908

Either Rolled Onto Tracks or Fell
While Catching Ride in the
Burlington Yards.

Mangled beyond recognition, and the head missing, the body of Martin Pretzel, aged 17 years, a son of Joseph Pretzel, and employee of the C. H. Conklin Ice Company, residing at 1657 Washington avenue, was found on the Burlington tracks, directly under the Fourth street viaduct, at 4:30 o'clock yesterday morning by Louis Hommold, a laborer. He reported the discovery to the No. 2 police station. Patrolman James McGraw was sent to make an investigation but could find nothing by which to base the identity of the body and ordered it removed to the Eylar Bros. undertaking establishment.

At noon yesterday the parents of young Pretzel became uneasy about their son's absence, and hearing of the finding of the body investigated. Harvey E. Bailey, a son-in-law residing with the Pretzels, identified the pantaloons as the ones which he had given the boy a short time ago, and the father thought the coat and vest were the same as worn by his son when he left home. Beside the body as it lay on the track, was found a hat which belonged to Lee Ganders of 413 Landis court, the dead boy's companion. The two boys, who worked at neighboring grocery stores, left home after work Saturday night, saying they might go to St. Joseph on a fishing trip.

Lee Ganders reached his home at 4 o'clock yesterday morning, and explained to his mother that he had gone to the Fourth street viaduct with young Pretzel, that from there they had intended catching a train for St. Joseph. While waiting for the train the boys stretched themselves on the ground beside the track and fell asleep.

"About 3:30 o'clock in the morning," continued young Ganders, "I was awakened by the noise made by a passing passenger train. As the cars passed by I missed Pretzel, who had substituted the hat he wore for the one worn by myself. Thinking that he had either caught the train or gone home, I started for my own home."

The inference is that while asleep young Pretzel may have rolled on to the tracks and was run over or he might have attempted to mount one of the platforms of the moving cars and fell under the wheels. No part of the $1 given the deceased by his mother was found in his clothing.