Charles A. Fink, – Murder, SS Steamship Hekla Passenger, July 11, 1903, Time of Death is unknown.
The Scandinavian-American Line SS Hekla had left Copenhagen on July 7, 1903 headed for Hoboken, New Jersey. Charles A. Fink had boarded the ship at Christiania (Oslo) Norway on July 10th.
When the ship arrived in Hoboken, Charles A. Fink was not aboard, he had been murdered the day after boarding the ship.
Fink’s brother, owner of a restaurant at 178 Franklin St in Manhattan, John A. Fink was contacted about his missing brother. When John arrived at the SS Hekla, he inquired about his brother, and was told he likely jumped overboard.
His belongings were shown to John Fink in order to see if he could identify them, to know it was his brother.
This is where things went hinky. Upon looking at his brother’s luggage, he is able to identify it as belonging to the missing Charles. But, outside on the luggage, inside on the luggage, on some of the belongings inside and on a memorandum book John finds blood.
The contents of the travel bag looks to have been hastily tossed, and in doing so, whoever had blood on their hands, got it all over the bag and everything in it.
It is supposed that whoever rummaged through the bag was looking for the large amount of cash Charles had taken aboard the ship. It was likely the reason they flipped through the memorandum book to see if the money was hidden inside it.
However, feeling it was not safe to keep the cash on him, Mr. Fink had given the cash to the purser for safe keeping during the voyage.
When John pointed this out to the captain and his crew, they were clearly shocked, seemed apprehensive to speak of the situation, but maintained that the man must have jumped overboard, was not murdered.
The officers of the ship tell John that Charles was traveling with two companions, a man from Boston, Massachusetts and another from South Dakota.
They told the officers on the morning of July 12th, that their cabin mate had not slept in the cabin that night before, they searched the ship, and could not find him.
The ship had been in calm seas, and all was well with Charles Fink. He was coming home to start up a new express business, having sold his past express business the year before when he left for Europe, and was excited to be coming home.