Utah: Jean Baptiste’s great escape
In 1862, President Lincoln’s appointed governor of Utah, John Dawson fled Salt City after scandalously making an advance on a high society woman. He was chased down and beaten up by some locals, one of whom was later killed and buried by the Salt Lake sheriff. Later, when the dead man’s family came to dig him up and move him to a different plot, it was discovered that he was naked in his grave. The focus then turned to the immigrant grave digger Jean Baptiste who had robbed and sold the clothes and coffins from more than 300 graves.
Baptiste plead guilty and spent some time in jail and the word graverobber was tattooed on his forehead and he was sentenced to be marooned to a remote island. It was the Miller family who had to transport him with their boat to their island and provide him with a cabin. three weeks later his cabin was found torn down, a cow had been slaughtered and Baptiste was gone: presumed escape on a homemade raft. Jean Baptiste was never heard from again and his story remains a great mystery especially as to why he was given such an unorthodox punishment.