The Scope Family Poisonings
"Frances will know what to do"
Colonel Thomas Hunter Swope was one of the wealthiest men in Missouri, and the real estate businessman and philanthropist resided at a palatial red brick mansion in Kansas City. The childless and mild-mannered 82-year-old millionaire had made sure his relatives were well provided for, and intended to leave his fortune to his many cousins, nephews and nieces. One of these, Frances Swope, who had recently married Dr. Bennett Clarke Hyde, who had a checkered history as a medical practitioner. In late 1909, Dr. Hyde rushed to the estate to treat members of the Swope clan who had fallen ill, and eventually no less than ten members of the family were stricken with a mystery ailment, including Colonel Swope and two others who died. Dr. Hyde soon came under suspicion, and autopsies revealed the Colonel had died from strychnine and cyanide poisoning. For these murders the doctor would stand trial no less than four times in an effort of obtain justice.