Count Carl Von Cosel, or Dr. Von Cosel, worked at the local hospital in the tuberculosis ward, wh ere he meet Elena, who was hoping to out live the disease. It is said that Carl fell in love at first site with the beautiful Elena, and made a promise right then and there to cure her of the disease. He would come to Elena's home with medicines and X Ray equipment trying to do the near impossible at the time, save a life from tuberculosis.
|Carl Von Cosel|
However, despite Cosel's promise, Elena succumbed to the disease on October 25, 1931. Cosel was devastated. Not only did he pay for Elena's funeral, he paid to have an above ground mausoleum built to house her body. He also, with out the family's knowledge, put Elena in an air tight casket, and had formaldehyde gas continuously pumped into the coffin to preserve her body.
|Elena's corpse with the plaster mask|
Carl Von Cosel was arrested and was put on trial for the charge of "wantonly and maliciously destroying a grave and removing a body without authorization" On October 9, 1940 he testified declaring his love for Elena, and his reasoning for what he did. He was declared sane enough for trial. However, the case was eventual dropped due to the statute of limitations.
Elena's body was examined by pathologists and put on public display at Dean-Lopez Funeral Home, where over 6,800 people filled past to see Carl's obsession. Her body was later returned to Key West Cemetery and buried in a secret location so she would not be disturbed again, by Cosel or anyone for that matter.
|Elena's body on display|
Cosel died on July 3, 1952. His body was discovered on the floor of his home in Pasco County Florida, he moved there after the trial, three weeks after his death. Also discovered was an life size eiffgy of Elena, that Carl had made using the plaster mask he made after stealing her body in 1933. It seems love really did transcend death, or should I say obsession?
For More Info Visit:
The Strange Obsession of Dr. Carl Von Cosel
An YouTube video taken from the show Autopsy with Dr. Michael Baden on the case.
Elena's grave at Find A Grave.com
Karl's grave at Find A Grave.com