top of page
Sanatorium FB ad 2.jpg


James Fisher, a resident at Wycliffe Sanatorium, was arrested by Detective John Blusson for the murders of Dr. Arthur Whitmore and Ethel Weeks. Fisher was also charged with the attempted murder of Lilian Cross.


Det. Blusson gathered evidence at the sanatorium and conducted interviews to obtain the facts needed to solve the crime. The first conclusion he reached from studying the evidence was that the two murders and the attack on Lilian Cross had all been done by the same person. 

Blusson reached this conclusion because in the library he found three items hidden together under a floorboard: a rosary bracelet, a St. Christopher medal and a photograph of a woman and a baby. The evidence revealed that these items had belonged to Dr. Whitmore, Ethel Weeks, and Lilian Cross, respectively. Since they were found together and had been taken from the victims by the attacker, the only logical conclusion was that a single person was responsible for all three incidents. 

Next, Blusson turned his attention to the suspects. From his interview with Lilian Cross, Blusson knew that the killer was most likely a male. Given that there were only eight men at Wycliffe during the time of murders and the attempted murder of Cross, Blusson first ruled out as many suspects as possible based on alibis presented by the facts. 

From the diary of Anna Elmes, Blusson learned that Henry Brock regularly consumed large amounts of laudanum and spent his nights essentially unconscious. This accounting was confirmed by Blusson’s visit to Henry Brock’s room and his own observations. Given Henry’s condition, it is unlikely that he could have carried out the killings and the attempted murder of Cross. 

George Stiles could also be ruled out as a suspect. He had recently undergone surgery, presumably performed by Dr. Blakely. Stiles was unable to stand or leave his bed, and had been in that unfortunate state for at least seven days. It is therefore unlikely that he could be the killer. 


Thomas Davis could also be eliminated as a suspect. A letter written by Mildred Cooper stated that Davis was admitted to Wycliffe on the day after the murder of Dr. Whitmore. Since Blusson had concluded that same person committed both murders and the attack on Cross, Davis could not be the perpetrator. 

The newspaper article about the break-in at the orphanage contained several important clues. First, the article stated that the person who broke into the orphanage left a ledger book open to an entry about the abandonment and subsequent adoption of a child named Theophilus. 

A photograph of a mother and child was found during Bluson’s search of the sanatorium. On the back of the photo were the names Lilian and Theophilus. Blusson concluded that the photograph depicted Lilian Cross and an infant son, Theophilus, whom she surrendered to the orphanage in 1884 at the insistence of her father. 

The orphanage’s ledger book contained an important annotation stating that Theophilus was adopted on May 17, 1885, by Francis & Elizabeth Webb of Port St. James. A second newspaper article discovered by Det. Blusson reveals that in 1903, Francis & Elizabeth Webb were found murdered in their home on Christmas morning. Their nineteen-year-old son, whom Blusson had concluded was the orphan named Theophilus and the biological son of Lilian Cross, was missing. 

Blusson’s theory of the case was that the Wycliffe killer was the orphan Theophilus, who had exhibited a disturbed mind and homicidal tendencies as he grew up culminating in the murder of his adopted parents. Theophilus had then searched for his biological mother, most likely to exact revenge for abandoning him as a baby. At some point, he determined that she had been committed to Wycliffe. To gain admittance, Theophilus had faked an affliction with tuberculosis. 

There were only two viable suspects remaining who were of the right age to be Theophilus: Charles Stiles and James Fisher. Both had dark hair as described by Lilian’s sister. However, Charles Stiles had been a student at university until recently. This was confirmed in a telegram received from the university. Given the recent history of Theophilus, it is very unlikely that he could have been a student during the operative time period. Therefore, Blusson concluded that James Fisher was the killer. 

When Blusson went to Fisher’s room to arrest him, Fisher resisted. A struggle ensued and Blusson shot Fisher in the chest. Theophilis Webb was buried two days later. The only person in attendance at his funeral service was Lilian Cross.

bottom of page