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New Book Explores Murder of Pearl Bryan, Found Decapitated in Fort Thomas


A new book explores the death of a woman, whose headless body was found in Campbell County.

The 1896 murder of Pearl Bryan, a 23-year old woman from Greencastle, Indiana, was hailed as "the crime of the century" by media outlets at that time.

Author Larry Tippin reviewed 3,000 pages of trial documents to produce 4,000 pages of notes to create the 40,000-word The Betrayal of Pearl Bryan: Unraveling the Gilded Age Mystery that Captivated a Nation.

In the book, Tippin explores who Pearl Bryan was, and also details the lives of her killers, Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling. The murderers were ultimately hanged.

Tippin will speak at an event produced by the Campbell County Public Library on Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m. at the Fort Thomas Tower Park Mess Hall, not far from where Bryan's headless body was found.

Tippin will also be a guest on 91.7 WVXU's Cincinnati Edition on Monday, May 6, live at noon. The daily program is hosted by RCN publisher Michael Monks.

The book offers forensic details, such as how tiny size-3 shoes led investigators from Fort Thomas to Greencastle, and ultimately to Bryan's identity. 

Tippin is the Putnam County Historian and lives in Roachdale, Indiana. 

He will sign copies of the new book, which will be available for purchase after the presentation.

An exhibit of artifacts and other items will be on display. The Tower Park Mess Hall is at 801 Cochran Ave., Fort Thomas. Register for the event at the Campbell County Public Library website,

This event is sponsored by the Campbell County Historical and Genealogical Society in partnership with the Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum and the Campbell County Public Library.

-Staff report

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