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Charles Henry Schwartz

Schwartz, from Walnut Creek, near Berkeley, California, became infamous for trying to fake his own death by trying to erase identification marks on another man's dead body to make it appear that Schwartz himself had died.   On 30th July 1925 a fire and explosion wrecked his laboratory  where he carried out chemical research.   Schwartz was a married man of 36 years who had three children. The charred remains of a body were found in the ruins, and at first sight it appeared that Schwartz might have killed himself accidentally.

The fire chief had doubts about the fire and these were strengthened by a mysterious break in to the house  when several photographs of Schwartz were stolen.   A man had also been seen leaving the scene in Schwartz's car.

The fingerprints of the victim were destroyed with acid, and the eyes had been removed, but dental comparisons showed that  the victim had two missing teeth like Schwartz.  Then Dr Edward Heinrich compared the dead man's ear lobe with a photograph of Schwartz and established that Schwartz did not have a mole on his ear.   The victim had in fact been killed by a blow to the back of his head, and was later identified as Gilbert Barbe, an itinerant preacher and a friend of Schwartz.  

Schwartz was later found dead in Oakland.   He had committed suicide after leaving a note confessing his guilt.

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