Episode 60

Carrie Brown: An American Jack the Ripper Victim?

July 26, 2020   Tags: , ,
Apple Podcasts
This week Billy and Paul travel to 1891 New York City to investigate the unsolved murder of Carrie Brown. While often tied to Jack The Ripper, no conclusive evidence has linked the two and the case that caused a media storm remains unsolved. This new episode is in partnership with TNT's The Alienist: Angel of Darkness.

Carrie Brown:
On Thursday, April 23rd 1891, Carrie had dinner with her friend Alice Sullivan at a Christian mission before separating for the night’s work. According to Alice, she last saw Carrie around 8:30 PM with a man she knew only as “Frenchy.” Carrie was also seen with a different man that evening. His name was Issac Perringer--and he was also known as “Frenchy.”

Around 11 o’clock that night, Carrie rang the bell to enter the East River Hotel. When the housekeeper Mary Minter opened the door, Carrie had a third, and final, client with her. Minter described the man as “about 32 years old, five foot eight, slim build with a long sharp nose, a heavy mustache of light color. He wore an old black derby hat, the crown of which was much dented.”

The two checked in under the name C. Nicolo and wife.
The Crime Scene:

Around 9 AM on April 24, 1891, a man was sent to clear out the rooms. When he entered Room 31, he made a grisly discovery. 

Carrie was nude on top of the bed. Her clothes were in a mess right above her shoulders. Carrie’s head laid in the center of a pillow with her body on the edge of the bed. Her feet pointed toward the door of the room. 

The bedding was pushed against the wall. And blood was on everything: the bedding, the floor, the victim. Carrie’s left leg was crossed above the right. Her entrails, which had been removed, were under her legs. Her right arm was tucked under her with the hand looking as if it was trying to clutch something.

And under her right thigh was the likely murder weapon. A table knife. Coroner Schultz noted that one cut from the knife started at the end of the spine and went toward the abdomen and then back to its starting point. The skin from this area was removed. There was no sign of the skin that had been removed in the room. 

But this killer took it a step further. He signed his work. He sliced a ragged, foot long cross on the back of her left hip. A mark he also drew on the door and wall so as not to be missed.   

According to the coroner, Carrie’s cause of death--beyond all the extensive damage done to her body--was strangulation.

The Wrong Suspect:

Police immediately began searching for Frenchy number one and two. But it was a popular nickname in the area. So they rounded up all the Frenchys within a day and relied on their shaky witness descriptions--ultimately only holding Frenchy Number One. His real name was Amir Ben Ali. He was Algerian and spoke French.

Ali was in the East River Hotel the night Carrie Brown was murdered. And he was staying across the hall from her in room 33. According to the police, there was blood on Ali’s door and door knob both inside and out. Although no one else saw this blood.

Ali was tried and convicted on July 3, 1891. Two reporters lobbied for his verdict to be vacated and for his release. It would take 11 years, but they would succeed. In 1902 Governor Odell released Ali from Sing Sing and declared him innocent of Carrie Brown’s murder.

So if Ali didn't kill Carrie Brown, who did? It’s been over 129 years since Carrie Brown was murdered. We encourage you, much like you did with the Black Dahlia, to go back through old newspaper clippings. While there were plenty of murders at the time, there don’t seem to be many with the hallmarks of Carrie’s case. 

But just like with Black Dahlia, we want you to send us your theories. Jack the Ripper--whether in America or England--was never caught. 

If you have any theories, please contact us.   


1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police. 
2. Do not post side by side photos.
3. Do not contact any family members. 
4. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want the same thing. 

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.