Ernestine Vivian Bressel, 23 – Murder, SS Vasari Passenger, March 10, 1921, Time of Death is unknown.
Miss Ernestine Vivian Bressel, age 23, was shot to death while sailing on the Cunard Line passenger ship Vasari, that sailed out of New York harbor on January 15, 1921 with a destination of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was traveling on the passport of a man, who claimed she was his wife. That was information his real wife did not take very well.
Louis Campagna, age 46, a wealthy fruit dealer from Brooklyn, New york, married with five children, the eldest child twenty years old at the time, skipped out on partners, clients, his wife and kids to run off with a pretty, young, blond thing, to start a new life. He had left his wife Anna on January 8th, without telling her he was going, who he was leaving with, where he was going or even to offer the simple words “Good-bye”.
The family was living at 1613 77th Street in Brooklyn, before Campagna decided life with a pretty young thing, was better than being a good father and raising his children with solid values.
Campagna’s thriving fruit business was located at 166 West St, also in Brooklyn. Creditors say he left owing them a bundle. Clients say the man was worth over $200,000.
When Campagna didn’t show at home for a few days, his wife questioned the family chauffeur as to where he had taken her husband. The chauffeur knowing that Mr. Campagna was not coming back, ratted him out to Mrs Campagna, spilling the beans about the young thing and the fact that she was listed on Mr. Campagna’s passport as his wife.
Mrs. Campagna, seeing that her husband had a fraudulent passport notified the U.S. State Department authorities who issued an order for the sailing couple to be stopped at Buenos Aires.
The pair were not allowed to disembark the ship, and instead where kept aboard for the return sailing to New York.
Somewhere between South America and the Barbados, two weeks after leaving South America, Louis Campagna took out a gun, pumped five rounds into his wife and then killed himself.
The two were buried at sea.
Miss Bressel had lived with her parents Mr. and Mrs. G. Bressel at 438 Irving Place in Brooklyn. But had been befriended by Mrs Campagna during the past two previous years.
The Bressel family were devastated by the news of their daughter’s affair and murder.
The twist to the story came when authorites discovered that Campagna had actually married Bressel on January 4, 1921 in Brooklyn, New York, according to New York State records. Campagna was a bigamist.
Campagna had not divorced his wife, and actually lived with her for four days after marrying Bressel.
Luigi (Louis) Campagna had married his first wife, Nomina Trosa 27 years before on September 12, 1894.