Veronica Gedeon was a 20-year-old commercial model from Long Island City whose murder during Easter Weekend in 1937 captivated New York City. It was reported widely in newspapers there. After Gedeon's murderer was apprehended there were substantial changes in the psychiatric laws in the state of New York.
Gedeon appeared at an Illustrators Society show for models which was raided by members of the New York City Police Department on November 8, 1935. She posed for crime-oriented periodicals such as Inside Detective and Headquarters Detective. Her murder featured an ironic twist because of the sensational titles of the pictorials she appeared in. In Party Girl, Pretty But Cheap, and I Am A White Slave photographs showed her flimsily clad, beaten, smothered, and tied up.
Gedeon attended William Cullen Bryant High School. She was of Hungarian ethnicity, from a family which came to the United States in 1907. The Gedeon family resided in Astoria, Queens until 1929. They moved to 240 East 53rd Street where Gedeon's mother, Mary, ran a rooming house until December 5, 1936, when the establishment was turned over to a superintendent. Earlier Mary Gedeon operated several speakeasies during the latter portion of the Prohibition era.
Murderer's profile and arrest
The family relocated to an apartment at 318 East 50th Street (Manhattan), where Gedeon's mother took in boarders. A sculptor, Robert George Irwin, was found guilty of murdering Gedeon, her mother, and a roomer in a fifth floor apartment there on the night of March 28, 1937. Irwin spent time in and out of Bellevue Hospital Center and Rockland County Hospital. He was briefly a boarder at the Gedeons but was put out of the household after he developed a crush on Gedeon's sister Ethel.
The manhunt which apprehended Irwin covered eight states and was the largest since the Lindbergh kidnapping. In late June 1937 a Cleveland, Ohio hotel employee recognized Irwin whose photograph appeared in the periodical True Detective Mysteries. Irwin was working there as a bellhop but fled quickly to Chicago, Illinois, where he was taken into custody by police waiting for him at the depot. Irwin confessed his affection for Ethel and said that the murders had been accidents. He arrived at the Gedeon apartment searching for Ethel but became enraged to find that she no longer lived there. So he killed the Gedeon women and the lodger in anger after Mary Gedeon allowed him to come inside. Having once sculpted a conventional bust of Herbert Hoover, Irwin admitted he wanted to behead Ethel and make a death mask.
- Girl, 20, And Mother Slain With Lodger In Home In 50th Street, New York Times, March 29, 1937, pg. 1.
- Hair Is Sole Clue In Triple Murder; Police Baffled, New York Times, March 30, 1937, pg. 1.
- The Murdered Girl Was A Good Sport, A Century of Journalism, New York Post, Volume III, 1943, pp. 172 - 178.
- "Blue With Death The Beekman Hill Maniac", New York Daily News, Friday, May 22, 1998, internet article.
- Irwin Suicide Note Is Termed A Hoax, New York Times, April 12, 1937, pg. 36.
- Ends Life By Plunge At Scene Of Murders, New York Times, August 1, 1940, pg. 23.