Joseph Kallinger, the Enigmatic Cobbler
Didi Wiseman, 28, had come with her 4-year-old son to see her parents, Edwinna and DeWitt Romaine. DeWitt was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack he'd had a month earlier and Edwinna had gone to see him. Didi's 21-year-old twin sisters, Randi and Retta, still lived there, but were out that morning. Retta was with her boyfriend, Frank Welby, and Randi left for the hospital when Didi came in. Didi was going to look after her bedridden, 90-year-old grandmother until someone returned to take over.
Around 1:30, she said that she had seen a swarthy, dark-haired man and slender boy with long dirty-blond hair walking hand-in-hand on Greenwood Avenue near the house, and she had recognized them as a couple she had seen earlier when taking her daughter back to school after lunch. They were strangers, not people from the neighborhood. The man was rather scruffy and did not look like a salesman, but Didi had not given them much thought.
To her surprise, they were soon on the front porch, knocking at the door. Didi went to open it to ask what they wanted. Salesmen did not generally call in this area and it was strange to see this man and boy come up the walk. They were dressed in ordinary clothes, but they made her vaguely uneasy. In fact, they exuded an odd smell, though she could not place the odor.
The older man told her that he was a "John Hancock salesman."
She did not know what to say, and he asked her if anyone else was at home.
She asked him to leave. Instead, he forced her back into the house. His son followed without a word.
Shocked, Didi tried to push him back, and they struggled. The boy just stood and watched. The man drew a revolver out of his coat, but Didi continued to try to shove him toward the door.
Didi's son Bobby came into the living room, and seeing his mother, he began to scream. It was an opportunity for the intruder. He pointed his gun at the child, which made Didi stop for fear he'd harm her son. That allowed him to come all the way into the house. The boy closed and locked the door.
The man grabbed Didi by the hair and told her he was going to rob the place. She had better do what he said. Bobby continued to scream. Didi felt helpless and she worried about her grandmother upstairs.
The man ordered Didi to close her eyes and not look at him, although it seemed rather late for that. Just before she obeyed, she saw the boy streak into the room behind her. She also saw a knife in the man's hand.
He wanted to know who else was there, so she said her grandmother was on the second floor. Dragging Didi by the hair, he forced her up the steps. Bobby ran to her side, holding onto her clothes as he screamed.
They checked the grandmother to be certain she could not get out of bed before the intruder forced Didi into another room on that floor. There he told her to sit on the bed while he put adhesive tape around her head, covering her eyes. With each wrap, she became more terrified. He stuck a cloth of some kind into her mouth and taped over that as well. Then he demanded that she remove her clothes. She feared he was going to rape her in front of her son. When she did not comply, he removed them himself. Once that was done, he asked if she expected anyone else to come home. She nodded mutely, hoping that might intimidate or get rid of him. He placed her hands behind her and taped them together, then pulled off her rings.
Then he pushed her onto the bed and tied her ankles together with some kind of cord. As he was doing this, Didi heard him instruct the boy to lock the doors downstairs. She wondered where her son was, but then heard him protest as the man apparently was removing his clothes as well. Within moments, she felt the 4-year-old pressed against her body. She could not begin to understand what this man was doing, but she was relieved to have her son close to her. In The Shoe-Maker, Schreiber says that he told the boy to roll over and pretend he was asleep.
Her captor then forced her onto her back, seemingly to rape her, but she was having her period and he made some comment that indicated he was put off by that.
Just at that moment, the doorbell rang downstairs. Someone had arrived at the house. Schreiber says that this deflected the man -— so he told her when she interviewed him -- from killing the elderly woman in the next room. Whoever it was, they did not have a clue as to what they were about to encounter. Didi hoped the intruders might take the opportunity to slip out. She could not have guessed what they were about to do.