Seattle’s Serial Killer Nurse, or A Self-Righteous Quack?
I'm a fan of true crime and serial killer documentaries, but when I heard about the "Starvation Nurse" serial killer Linda Hazzard, I didn't quite know if she was an actual serial killer, a con artist, or simply a quack.
Don't get me wrong; she did kill at least 15 people, but did she plan on their deaths? She was sentenced to jail/hard labor for up to 20 years but only served 2, and was eventually pardoned. According to Wikipedia, Linda ran a sanitarium in Olalla, Washington (around 15 miles SE of Seattle), where she practiced alternative medicine (without a degree).
The Starvation Nurse's Practice.
Hazzard practiced a fasting method that she claimed could cure "all manner of illnesses" by getting rid of toxins in the body. She was so devoted to this practice that she wrote 3 books on the topic. Besides fasting, she also introduced hours-long enemas and pummeling as treatments (Wikipedia).
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The Starvation Nurse's Arrest
Not everyone whom Hazzard "helped" died, and the few who did survive praised and publicly endorsed her and her methods. Nonetheless, she was arrested in 1912 and convicted of manslaughter for the death of a wealthy British woman named Claire Williamson. Authorities were notified when a family friend came to the aide of Claire's sister, Dorothea. It's believed one of the sisters was able to sneak a telegram to alert their family. During the trial, it was proven that Hazzard had stolen Williamson's identity by forging a will and also stole several of her valuables.
It was later found that she had done the same thing to many other victims. She befriended them and exploited the trust they had in her. She promised them health with her treatments while charging them and swindling them out of their money and property while they were weak and malnourished.
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The part in this story that really stuck with me was how Hazzard became ill when she was 70 years old and undertook her own treatments to improve her health; fasting, enemas, and the beatings. She did not recover and passed away in June of 1938. Did she really believe that these methods worked, or did she figure if she subjected herself to the same treatment, history might paint her in a better light? We'll never know.
The headline of this article is "Seattle's Serial Killer Nurse or a self-righteous quack?" The answer… yes. Yes, to all of it. Keep reading to see our gallery of other Serial Killers from the Pacific Northwest.
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