On October 15, 1911 Mrs. O W Snook of Ellesworth, Kansas failed to get an answer to her repeated calls to the Showman family over the telephone. She went over to their house, a distance of about two blocks, and finding the door open, walked in and was horrified at the sight of Mr. and Mrs. Showman and their little baby, their son 2 and older daughter 4, all with their heads terribly crushed and mangled beyond recognition. Mrs. Snook rushed terror stricken from the house and telephoned to a brother of the murdered man, John Showman, who in turn notified the sheriff. Bloodhounds were taken to the scene of the crime and took the scent from a cloth upon which the murderer had wiped his hands. The dogs took a trail and followed it to where the Union Pacific and Frisco tracks intersect. It is thought that the murderer may have walked to the crossing and there boarded either a Frisco or Union Pacific train.
A strong suspect is Charles Marzyck, a brother-in-law of Mrs. Showman. Marzyck was sent to the penitentiary from Ellsworth in January, 1906, for having stolen some wheat. Marzyck was released from the penitentiary in April, 1910. At the time there was some trouble between Marzyck and his wife, a sister to Mrs. Showman. She obtained a divorce while Marzyck was serving his sentence, and then married James Vopat. Marshal Merritt, who was a witness against Marzyck in the trial of 1906 states that some one tried to enter his home Sunday evening. He was sitting in his home reading a paper when he heard some one try the back door. He thought nothing of it, but as the noise continued, he arose and went to the door, but could see nothing. The next morning and investigation showed that a screen had been removed from one of the windows on the Merritt home.
Marzyck has yet to be apprehended and there is no real evidence against him. Many wonder if this case will ever be solved.
Article from the Ellesworth Reporter October 26, 1911 : http://www.millersparanormalresearch.com/Pages/Ellsworth_Reporter_10-26-1911.htm
The murdered Showman children – Lester, Fenton and Fern