Bella in the Wych Elm.
Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm? On 18 April, 1943, four boys were exploring in Hagley Woods near Wychbury Hill when they came across a large Wych Elm. In the hollow trunk they found a skull. When police checked the trunk of the tree they found an almost complete human skeleton, a shoe, a gold wedding ring, and some fragments of clothing. After further investigation, a severed hand was found buried in the ground near the tree.
Taffeta was found in her mouth, suggesting that she had died from asphyxiation. From the measurement of the trunk it was deduced that she must have been placed there “still warm” after the killing, as she could not have fit once rigor mortis had taken hold.
Since the woman’s murder was during the midst of World War II, identification was seriously hampered. Police could tell from items found with the body what the woman had looked like, but with so many people reported missing during the war, records were too vast for a proper identification to take place. The current location of her skeleton is unknown, as is the autopsy report.
This painting was inspired by this unsolved crime.
Original painting, acrylic on acid-free paper, 8″ x 10″ by Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler. The painting does not contain the “My Good Babushka” watermark which was included here for security purposes.