The Ordeal of Dr. Peacock (1-3-1936)

It started out like an episode of Castle, or one of the TV crime shows.  Dr. Silber Peacock, a prominent Edgewater pediatrician, had been found dead in his Cadillac along a lonely stretch of Francisco Avenue.  He had been brutally murdered.

Dr. Peacock

Dr. Peacock

Earlier that day, Mrs. Peacock had filed a missing person report with police.  According to her story, the doctor had received a phone call about 10 the previous night, then left to treat a sick child.  He never returned.

Over the next weeks, the Peacock case became a sensation.  Mrs. Peacock maintained that her husband had led a quiet life, and must have become the victim of a robbery gone wrong.  That was too simple for the newspapers.

One theory was that the doctor had been having an affair.  His lover’s husband had found out, and killed the doctor in a jealous rage.  Or maybe the doctor had broken off with the lover, and she had killed him.

Then another possibility surfaced.  A few months earlier, a man had charged into Dr. Peacock’s office, accusing the doctor of performing an illegal abortion on the man’s wife.  Did this have anything to do with the doctor’s death?

And then, there was something else.  It seemed Dr. Peacock had been part of a secret investigation by the federal Bureau of Narcotics.  Had the doctor found out too much and been killed by drug dealers?  Or was the doctor himself selling dope?

All angles were investigated.  Nothing offered a solution.  Mrs. Peacock was disgusted at how the doctor was being portrayed.  “Now that they have pictured my husband as an abortionist, a dope peddler, and a honky-tonk philanderer, perhaps they will at last agree that his personal life was blameless,” she said.
1936 Cadillac
Meanwhile, police noticed a pattern in some crimes on the West Side.  In two of them, a doctor had been phoned for an emergency house call—and when he arrived at the address, he’d been robbed by four young men.

The cops got descriptions of the perps.  They were identified and arrested.  On March 27, two of them confessed to murdering Dr. Peacock.  They’d picked his name out of the phone book.  “We thought a North Side doctor would have lots of money,” one of them said.

As it was, they’d gotten only $20.

The four men were given long prison terms.  Shortly after their sentencing, Dr. Peacock’s widow gave birth to his posthumous daughter.

—30—

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