A newspaper clipping showing convicted serial killer Ed Slomke, who went as Ed Krause in Alaska.

A newspaper clipping showing convicted serial killer Ed Slomke, who went as Ed Krause in Alaska.

Neighbors: Death with Dessert examines Alaska’s first serial killer

Edward Slomke killed at least seven men in Southeast Alaska. He may have murdered twice that many. Along with their lives, he took their money, their possessions — and sometimes their identities.

But this is not a “ripped-from-the-headlines” case from “Dateline” or another contemporary true-crime show. It happened more than a century ago, in the first two decades of the 20th Century.

The story of Slomke, who went as Ed Krause in Alaska, and how he was caught, is detailed in a presentation at 3 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, at McPhetres Hall, Holy Trinity Church, 325 Gold St., in downtown Juneau.

It’s the first in a three-part series called “Death, With Dessert,” put together by historic true-crime researchers and retired journalists Ed Schoenfeld and Betsy Longenbaugh.

“Death of a Vaudevillian,” the second show, is Saturday, March 2, and covers a noted entertainer who disappeared when his traveling theater troupe’s boat burned and sank off Baranof Island. “The Salad Dressing Murder,” a case of infidelity and death, is Saturday April 6. Tickets, $35, are available at trinityjuneau.org or by calling the church at 907-586-3532.

The dessert is an original murder-themed creation from Douglas’ Treadwell Kitchen.

Slomke was a German immigrant who joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Southeast Alaska. After serving in the Spanish-American War, he returned to the region and went on a killing spree that almost went unnoticed.

“He got away with murder by singling out unattached, transient men with few connections to the community,” said Longenbaugh, author of “Forgotten Murders from Alaska’s Capital,” published by Epicenter Press.

“His silent reign of terror ended when he came to Juneau and broke his pattern,” she added.

Longenbaugh and husband Schoenfeld have been researching local true crime history for about five years, leading murder tours in downtown and Douglas through the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. They’ve also presented programs, such as the Death, With Dessert, series, covering more than a dozen cases.

“We talk about crime, but it isn’t all about shootings, stranglings and stabbings,” said Schoenfeld, a former radio and print reporter and editor. “We talk a lot about the social context of the crimes, including the early 1900s justice system’s views on race, sex and domestic violence.”

“You learn a lot about a community by its response to times of crisis,” he added.

The programs are benefits for Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. Walking tours benefit the Juneau-Douglas City Museum.

Longenbaugh’s second book, “Death in the Underworld,” will be published by Epicenter Press in 2025. It’s a historic novel based on a murder in Douglas tied to an international sex-trafficking ring. She’s also working on a sequel to “Forgotten Murders from Alaska’s Capital” and a second historical novel.

A newspaper clipping showing convicted serial killer Ed Slomke, who went as Ed Krause in Alaska.

A newspaper clipping showing convicted serial killer Ed Slomke, who went as Ed Krause in Alaska.

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