In 1913, 33-year-old Walburga “Dolly” Oesterreich had been married to Fred Oesterreich (pronounced “O-strike”) for fifteen years. He was a dour apron manufacturer who drank too much. They lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Among the 60 women who worked in Fred’s textile factory he was known as a skinflint and slavemaster who was never satisfied. Dolly as forelady, trailed behind him soothing disgruntled employees.
Otto Sanhuber (aka, Otto Weir; Walter Klein) was a slightly-built teenager who had been orphaned. In 1908, he befriended Raymond Oesterreich the couple’s only son. He visited Raymond’s home frequently, and the loved-starved Otto craved the attention of Mrs. Oesterreich who was always welcoming.
Raymond unexpectedly died July 15, 1910, after the census in April of that year. He was nine years old. Otto never suspected that during those years Raymond's mother, who was highly sexed had several, short-term affairs.
A couple of years after her son's death, Dolly called her husband to complain her sewing machine was broken. As she expected, he sent over 17-year-old Otto who worked for Singer Sewing Machine Company and fixed the machines at the factory.
Considering that Dolly was wearing only stockings, perfume and a silk robe, it appears she wanted to fix more than the sewing machine. Her intentions from the beginning were to seduce the teenage virgin. They started a torrid love affair. For three years they met either at his boarding house room or he would come to her home. One day when they were making love in her marital bed, Fred arrived unexpectedly possibly notified by a nosy neighbor who tipped him off. Otto fled to the attic.
The proverbial light bulb went off in Dolly’s head and she moved him into the attic where he built himself a small cubicle. Inside he had a mattress, a lamp, a chamber pot and paper and pencil. To make sure Fred would not discover him, she put a padlock on the door and would unlock it when they were gone from the home.
During the day when the Oesterriechs worked at the factory, he swept and cleaned the house, as well as gorged himself on food. By night he wrote and read pulp fiction stories of adventure and lust. On certain days, Dolly would feign illness and stay home so they could indulge in hours of lovemaking.
The disadvantage of his hidey-hole was that Otto could hear Dolly having sex with her husband. He could not pressure her with jealousy because she reminded him it would end his days as a kept man.
More than once Fred thought he heard something after they went to bed. Dolly dismissed them by saying it was mice and that he was drinking too much.
They moved five time while living in Milwaukee and Dolly always made sure to find a house with an attic, which she told her husband she needed to store her beloved furs in.
One late evening in 1918, a confrontation occurred. The Oesterreichs were out at a German beer party. Fred and Dolly got into an argument and Fred went home in a huff, leaving his wife behind. The aging factory owner strolled into his kitchen only to find a short, slim, very pale, 32-year-old man seated at the table, placidly enjoying a nice leg of lamb.
On August 22, 1922, Dolly and her husband arrived home in a heated argument which grew louder. Otto heard Dolly cry out and believed Fred had attacked her, however she had only slipped on a rug. Sanhuber believing in his own exploits in pulp-fiction-land ran downstairs with two .25-caliber guns to defend her. Both men struggled once Fred recognized him as the lamb-eating stranger from many years before. Mr. Oesterreich ended up dead with three bullets in him.
Sanhuber guessed that neighbors called police after hearing the shots. He hustled Dolly in a closet upstairs, and locked the door from the outside. He hid out in the attic.
Dolly told police that burglars had shot her husband, taken his expensive watch and locked her in the closet on their way out. They were suspicious, since the victim had been killed by .25-caliber handgun, a rather small weapon for a burglar. However, without any evidence and finding her locked in a closet, they could not explain how she committed the crime.
In January 1923, she moved to a house on North Beachwood Drive, with an attic of course, where Otto relocated to as well. He continued clacking away on a typewriter he had bought with the proceeds of some of his stories, and the pittance Dolly gave him.
Little did Otto Sanhuber suspect that by killing Fred Oesterreich he also killed his role as the “other man”. Now a widow, 43-year-old Dolly eyed her estate attorney, Herman S. Shapiro. She gave him a watch, which he recognized as the one she claimed the burglars had stolen. She allayed his suspicions by explaining she found it later under a window seat cushion.
Enter Roy H. Klumb, businessman, actor and her latest lover. She gambled that under the throes of passion he would help her to get rid of a gun that looked like the one that dispatched her husband, and she worried the police would pin the murder on her. She was right about the passion thing, because he took the firearm and threw into the La Brea Tar Pits.
Dolly Oesterreich missed her calling as a saleswoman, because she sold the same story to her neighbor who buried the second gun under a rose bush in their yard.
Fast forward eleven months and Dolly cut off Klumb. What’s that saying about a woman spurned? Well it holds true for men as well. On July 12, 1923, the police fished out the gun from the tar pit after Klumb tipped them off.
Another version claims that Detective Cline, always suspicious of Dolly, saw Shaprio wearing Fred’s diamond-encrusted watch and produced enough evidence to have her arrested.
The helpful neighbor read the headlines and marched into the police station with the second gun.
Both guns were so rusted that it was impossible to determine if they had shot the bullets that killed Fred Oesterreich. The prosecutors also found it difficult to explain how Dolly while being locked in a closet could shoot her husband.
Then Shapiro got one of the strangest request he had ever received from a client. It was to buy groceries, tap on the ceiling of the bedroom closet and feed her lover. Otto was not only starved for food but conversation as well. Between mouthfuls he told Shapiro lurid stories about his 10 years living in Dolly’s attics.
Based on Shapiro’s advice, Dolly hired criminal attorney Frank Dominguez. He in turn instructed Shapiro to get rid of Sanhuber. Shapiro convinced Otto he had to leave because of the threat both he and Dolly faced if it was discovered he had been living in the attic all these years. He reluctantly left.
She was released on bail, and the charges were eventually dropped. Shapiro moved in with her.
Shapiro had plans for Dolly and him, and she agreed not to meet Otto again if he helped him get a job. He found one for him one as a janitor. Otto changed his name to Walter Klein and moved to Vancouver, Canada and married another woman named Mathilde, however he did eventually move back to Los Angeles.
Seven years rolled by, and in 1930 Dolly cut Shapiro lose. It was not a friendly parting to a tumultuous relationship, since the attorney ran to the police and provided them with an affidavit telling about the man living in the attic. He told them the breakup had been due to money.
Dolly was arrested again and a warrant was issued for Otto Sanhuber. She was charged with conspiracy and her one-time-lover with murder. By the time he faced the judge and jury he was 43 years old and was working as a porter in an LA apartment house. His defense was that he had been Dolly’s “sex slave”. He also claimed the gun had gone off during a struggle. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
He was convicted of manslaughter, but since the statute of limitation had run out a year before, he left the courthouse a free man.
Dolly hired famed attorney Jerry Giesler and the proceedings ended in a mistrial. She also walked free and was never retried for the charges.
By 1958, Dolly lived over a garage in a run-down section of Los Angeles.
She died April 8, 1961 at the age of 80. She was born June 12, 1880. She married her second husband Ray Bert Hedrick two weeks before. He was her business manager for thirty years and her entire estate went to him. There was no mention of Otto in her will.
Otto Sanhuber, dubbed the “Bat Man” by the press during his murder trial disappeared into obscurity and nothing more is known about him.
Source - Murderpedia
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer