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|Cambria Freeman, 04 Sep 1903, Contributed by Patty Millich|
|PORTAGE MAN MEETS A MYSTERIOUS DEATH|
Jacob Leap, a well-known resident of Portage township was found dead at his lonely home near Cassandra Saturday morning under circumstances that leave but little doubt that he was the victim of a brutal murder.
Leap's body lay at the bottom of a small flight of steps and death could have been caused by a fall at that point, but a fall would hardly have inflicted the wounds found on the body. His neck, nose and one collar bone were broken and beside the body lay his cane, bathed in blood. Leap was subject at times to epileptic fits, but the attacks were never of great violence.
One theory that the man was murdered is the fact that the entire interior of the shanty, where he lived the life of a bachelor, showed unmistakable evidence of having been thoroughly ransacked and apparently only a few hours before the body was found. Things were turned over topsy-turvy, evidently in search of booty.
But the most direct evidence to support the theory of murder is the knowledge that for several days before the body of Leap was found, two strange men had been sharing the comforts of Leap's humble home. Since last Tuesday, it is said, the men were at the place and they were seen as late as Tuesday night. Saturday, after the body of Leap was found,the strangers could not be located. One of them wore a peg leg and was a comparatively young man.
William Mooney was suspected of knowing something about the affair and was locked up pending an investigation but on Sunday he was discharged as no evidence was offered against him.
Coroner Miller went to Cassandra Saturday afternoon and made an investigation, being compelled to perform the autopsy as no physician is located there. He found the three fractures mentioned as well as blood clots on the brain and when the jury summoned for the inquest was taken to the place where the body was found, it was quite apparent that they thought all the injuries were not inflicted by the fall, even if Leap had been seized by an epileptic fit.
The men who were in the company of Leap a short time before his death was known had called at the Franey stable. Mrs. Franey described them as being desperate looking fellows and she was surprised that her brother allowed them about the place.
Leap, who was a cripple, was about 38 years of age and was a brother of Frank Leap of Cassandra. He has several other brothers and sisters.