Thursday, September 9, 2021

Roscoe Arbuckle Held by Police -- September 9, 2021

Salem, Oregon Capital Journal, 10-September-1921

100 years ago today, on 09-September-1921, actress Virginia Rappe died in a San Francisco hospital. She had been in critical condition since attending a Labor Day party held by actor Roscoe Arbuckle at the Saint Francis Hotel on 05-November-1921. She died because of a ruptured bladder which became infected. Stories began to circulate that Arbuckle had assaulted Rappe. Tried for manslaughter three times, he was acquitted. Virginia Rappe was 26 when she died. Arbuckle's career was ruined. The newspapers sold a lot of copies. Many people who tried to defend Arbuckle said some nasty and unfounded things about Virginia Rappe. 

Roscoe Arbuckle
Held By Police
Girl Friend Dead
Police Investigation Shows Virginia Rappe
Died Following Party In Actor's Rooms; Women
Say Girl Found With "Fatty" Nearly
Nude and Partly Unconscious.

San Francisco, Sept. 10. -- Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle, motion picture actor, is to be "held in custody" pending the outcome of the police investigation into the death of Miss Virginia Rappe, following a party in Arbuckle's room at the St. Francis hotel here, Acting Captain of Detectives Michael Griffith announced today.

"Arbuckle will not be arrested," Griffith said, "but he will be detained by us until the investigation has been concluded. I have put four detectives on the case. I understand that he is coming up here voluntarily but he will be compelled to remain until the police are finished with him. At present we are not contemplating any charge against him."

Grand Jury to Probe

The county grand jury is to start an investigation Monday into Miss Rappe's death and Arbuckle's interest in it, Harry Kelly, secretary of the jury said today.

"So many women's clubs and private individuals interested in the moral welfare of the city have demanded an investigation that I will present their demands to the jury," Kelly said. "It is our duty to investigate such things and we will certainly do so. The district attorney who is now out of the city, will be advised of the circumstances and he will handle the matter before the grand Jury."'

Autopsy is Held

Dr. R. M. Rumwell, who attended Miss Rappe in the hotel following the party and Dr. Wm. Oppolus who performed an autopsy on her, were called to the coroner's office to be questioned concerning their knowledge of the case.

The party was held last Monday afternoon. Hotel authorities said they requested Arbuckle to leave as a result of the affair, which he did.

According to Detective Kennedy, a man who said he was Arbuckle telephoned from Los Angeles to the detective bureau at 11 o'clock last night, and said he would return here today to assist in clearing up the Rappe case.

The police are not considering bringing any charge at present against anybody involved in the death of Miss Rappe, Kennedy said, but future developments might change the situation, however.

Murder Charge Pends

"The only charge that could he suggested by cases of this character is murder." Kennedy said, "and we have no evidence as yet that such a charge is justified. However the situation is an extremely serious one."

Kennedy said he would question all of those who attended the party.

According to women members of the party, Arbuckle and Miss Rappe went into one of the rooms of the hotel suite, and the door of the room was thereupon locked. Later there were cries and sounds of a scuffle heard in the room they said, and they pounded on the door for admittance. Arbuckle finally admitted them, they saw Miss Rappe on a bed, practically nude and but partially conscious. Her clothing was badly torn, they said, even to her stockings.

Arbuckle Denies Story

She was placed in a cold bath in an endeavor to revive her, but this had no effect and she was taken into another room and put to bed. The house physician was called and later she was taken to the sanitarium where she died.

Arbuckle in his conversation with the police last night, specifically denied all of the statements made by the other members of the party, saying that he was not alone with Miss Rappe at any time and that his conduct at no time was objectionable.

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