The unsolved mystery of Draga Mitrićević’s death
Draga Mitrićević was a daughter of a well-to-do entrepreneur and Privy Councilor. She was educated abroad and spoke several languages and the vast family fortune and reputation was further strengthened by close connection to the Royal Court through Draga’s marriage with the young officer who served as royal household administrator.
It seems a perfect story…until she found out about her husband’s infidelity. She made a scandal confronting him in public and throwing out all of his personal possessions into the street and, with heart broken, she moved to her own exclusive villa in downtown Belgrade, just a few blocks from the royal court.
Due the sudden death of her former husband, Draga almost stopped talking to her friends and relatives, dismissed all household servants and slowly slipped into isolation.
Her only company were two dogs, few chickens and a goose, and soon she started to wear only long shabby black coats, crumpled hats and long black walking stick.
It was January 31, 1933, when locals were woken up by frantic voices of the news hawkers: “Wealthy Property Owner Mrs Draga Mitrićević Disappeared!”.
In the following days, the local press reported on the missing eccentric elderly lady who lived alone in the vast luxurious mansion, and the shock was even greater when the old lady was found dead a few weeks later: her body was discovered in her house’s basement, under some crates of firewood.
The crime was brutal, and all local daily newspapers at the time were describing the disturbing crime scene in minute details.
The post-mortem revealed that the victim was dead at least 15 days before the corpse was discovered and had sustained numerous blows with a heavy, blunt object. However, nothing in the house was touched and the investigators could not determine how the killer entered the villa. The police initially had several suspects, including her own nephew.
But despite the efforts, the case soon went cold, until some three years later, when the Belgrade police got in touch with Mr. Leo Rosenstein, a self-proclaimed handwriting expert and clairvoyant.
Based on the examining a piece of paper with some writing on it, Mr. Rosenstein established that it was connected with death of rich elderly lady and that the person involved in this crime was already in police custody: Koloman Reiter, nicknamed Gentlemen Robber, due to non-violent nature of his crimes. Reiter confirmed that he met the victim, however he was never at her house.
However, since the situation created by the press around this unorthodox approach to investigation went out of control, the Minister of Interior punished the investigators, while the censorship banned further reporting on the subject.
It only become known some years later, that a few days before her disappearance, Draga Mitrićević met with the Director of her bank and King Alexander Karađorđević at the Royal Court. It seems that the meeting was related to her savings in the amount of 3 million dinars, mysteriously disappeared from her bank account.
Eventually, Draga Mitricevic murder mystery was never solved, while the post-mortem report and crime scene photographs are still preserved at the Belgrade Institute of Forensic Medicine.
The woman was initially buried at one of the largest and most luxurious crypts at the New Cemetery in Belgrade. However, when it was disclosed that the money was gone, and the crypt will not be paid for, she was exhumed and transferred to the modest family crypt. There she was buried under her maiden name in the section 27 of the New Cemetery, while the monumental crypt was re-sold to another family.
Images from Web – Google Research