This is a sad story of a woman that killed one of her adopted sons and got away with it for years. The reader will be left shaking their head in disbelief! There were a few people that covered up for the killer and even more people that turned a blind eye to the abuse.
You will be surprised at the events that led to the prosecution of the killer. An unlikely hero and a biological mother that wouldn't let it go.
This book will leave it's mark on you!
This book was so hard to put down. The author is very detailed and the story is true. So many people knew and no one did anything, unimaginable!! They all should of been prosecuted. I will remember Dennis in my prayer now. Excellent book.
A family adopts a small boy, and the adoptive mother abuses and tortures the boy while the adoptive father does nothing to stop it. It takes over 20 years for the truth to come out. I found it very disturbing; I could not put the book down until I finished it.
Marci D. (readlaughlove) reviewed A Death in White Bear Lake : The True Chronicle of an All-American Town on
This was hard to get into, a lot of detail that didn't add to the story, but once I got past that, it was an incredible, sickening story. I saw more photos recently on a TV show about this case and the author did such a good job of describing the horror inflicted on this child, that photos wouldn't have added anything.
On Palm Sunday 1965, Dennis died. His three-and-a half year old body bore multiple injuries. But the coroner never ruled on the actual cause of death. Dennis was just buried-that was all. This is a story of a child who was slain in the American heartland among decent, normal neighbors.It is about people like us, and how they acted-or failed to act-at a critical moment in their lives.
I did enjoy reading this book. The subject matter and descriptions are difficult at times but the story held my interest. The development of a city and the law and attitudes was very interesting to read about. I also enjoy the way BARRY SIEGEL writes.
From Publishers Weekly
This is a masterfully depicted true-crime tale of the murder of a child by his adoptive mother and the resolution of the case 27 years later. In 1980 Jerry Sherwood, who had given her first child up for adoption, searched for him only to discover that Dennis had died at age three in 1965 under mysterious circumstances. Her accusations prodded the town of White Bear Lake in Wisconsin, which had already suspected adoptive mother Lois Jurgens of killing the child, into action. The resultant trial, a landmark case, established the legal principle that circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict in a child-abuse case, and served to reinforce the now commonly accepted contention that those abused as children frequently become child abusers themselves. Jurgens is now in prison. This perceptive analysis of the case by a Los Angeles Times reporter is stirring. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Using nonfiction novel style, Los Angeles Times reporter Siegel tells the story of Harold and Lois Jurgens, a Minnesota couple who adopted two children and beat the younger one, Dennis, to death in 1963. The Jurgens later adopted four more children, all of whom were also abused. Lois Jurgens was successfully prosecuted for third-degree murder after Dennis's natural mother came looking for her son and expressed suspicions about his death, 22 years after it happened. Drawing from many sources, Siegel has produced a well-written account of a particularly troubling child abuse case. He also provides some informative commentary on the failure of society--in particular its social service, legal, and medical systems--to protect its children from abuse. Recommended for public libraries.
- Donna L. Miller, Lebanon Valley Coll. Lib., Annville, Pa.