Frederick Mors

Frederick Mors

Frederick Mors
Birth name: Frederick Mors
Also known as: “Herr Doktor”
Number of victims: 8
Span of killings: 1914–1915
Country: United States
State(s): New York
Date apprehended: January 1915

Frederick Mors was an Austrian serial killer who, while employed in a nursing home in New York City, killed seventeen elderly patients by poisoning.[1] When questioned by police he was very cooperative, readily admitting to the murders. After being arrested, Mors was diagnosed as a megalomaniac and committed to an insane asylum from which he later escaped.[1]


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Mors immigrated to New York City from his native Austria-Hungary in June 1914.[1] Being from German-speaking Vienna, he was soon able to gain employment at the German Odd Fellows Home, a kind of nursing home, located in the Bronx.[1] Soon after he began work there, he exhibited signs of megalomania. He would wear white lab coats with a stethoscope around his neck. He also adopted an arrogant attitude and would insist that the elderly patients, whom he terrified, address him as “Herr Doktor.[1]” Inexplicably, though he terrified the older patients, younger patients and visitors seemed to like him and enjoy his company.[1]


In a four month period from September 1914 to January of the following year, an unusually high number of patients died at the Home. In all seventeen died.[1] Mors had been purchasing pharmacy items from a local druggist, including arsenic and chloroform, which he had been using to murder at least eight of the elderly residents, though he later claimed he was “putting them out of their misery”.[1] He commissioned his first murder using arsenic. Encountering difficulties with this method he later switched to the use of chloroform.[1] Fearing foul play, the administration called the police in to investigate.


Early in the investigation, police learned of the fear the elderly patients had for Mors. On these grounds he soon became the primary suspect of the investigation.[1] When questioned, Mors readily and calmly admitted to killing eight of the seventeen patients that had recently died.[1] He claimed that these were mercy killings and that they had been nuisances. In detail, he described his method as:

“First I would pour a drop or two of chloroform on a piece of absorbent cotton and hold it to the nostrils of the old person. Soon my man would swoon. Then I would close the orifices of the body with cotton, stuffing it in the ears, nostrils and so on. Next I would pour a little chloroform down the throat and prevent the fumes escaping the same way.[1]

Mors was found to be criminally insane and was committed to the Matteawan Institution for the Insane. He later escaped the institution in the late 1920s. He was never caught and disappeared into obscurity, never being heard from again.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lane, Brian; Wilfred Gregg. The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers. Berkley Books. pp. 265. ISBN 0-425-15213-8. 

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