Freaky Flint History with Joe Schipani - No Permit April 17th, 1921

Flint is well known for its modern violent crimes but Flint's history is filled with little known stories that read stranger than fiction. Gruesome murders, weird accidents, and violent deaths. Join us every Thursday as Joe Schipani details some of the odd but true deaths he found in Flint's archives.

Mrs. Root, the owner and operator of an unlicensed maternity hospital in Flint, was well known for helping young unmarried girls with their problems.

On this Sunday, a young girl came to the hospital to see Mrs. Root and have her problem taken care of. Later, Mrs. Root gave a package to Dr. Howe and asked him to dispose of it. The package contained the remains of a fetus.

Later that evening, Dr. Howe took the remains and disposed of them in the Flint River by throwing them over Hamilton Avenue Bridge.  A patrol officer noticed Dr. Howe and quickly took him in for questioning.

Dr. Howe confessed and was charged with illegally disposing of a dead body in the river without a permit.  He plead guilty and was forced to serve 10 days for his crime.

The police were not able to prove if the fetus was dead before delivery or if Mrs. Root had caused the death.

Mrs. Root did not keep any records about the girls that came to her for help. Mrs. Root plead guilty to operating a maternity hospital without a license and was fined fifty dollars or five days in jail. The fine was paid.   

~ Joe Schipani is the Executive Director of the Flint Public Art Project and the FFAR Project Assistant at the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.  Find him on Facebook at 

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