In Violet Springs Cemetery near Konawa, Oklahoma, sits a 1917 gravestone with an epitaph that reads, “Murdered by human wolves”. This is the gravesite of an 18-year-old woman named Katherine Cross who died while under the care of Dr. A. H. Yates. Dr. Yates was charged with performing a “criminal operation” on the young woman who was expecting a child. Dr. Yates was a married man and father of four.
Miss Cross was Dr. Yates second victim, as a woman named Elise Stone (also 18-years-old) died at the hands of Dr. Yates just two months prior. Dr. Yates claimed that Elise’s death was due to a “congestive chill.” But an investigation by the Attorney General (as was requested by suspicious citizens) resulted in a court order being obtained to have the body exhumed and an autopsy performed. It then became known that Elise’s death was the result of a “criminal operation.” Dr. Yates was arrested for the death of Elise. Also arrested for Elise’s death was a man named Fred O’Neil. O’Neil was a teacher in his 30′s, married man, and father of three who had (it is believed) impregnated Miss Stone. Yates performed an abortion, with O’Neil as his assistant, in an attempt to keep the pregnancy from becoming public. Although news reports are hard to find, it appears as though Dr. Yates and Fred O’Neil were both acquitted.
This story had been forgotten over the years, and the epitaph on Katherine Cross’s stone would lead local legends to arise claiming that the young Katherine Cross was killed by werewolves (among other stories). However, news reports printed at the time indicate that both Miss Cross and Miss Stone were the victims of botched abortions performed by a local doctor and a teacher. Miss Cross is buried next to her grandmother, and her accused killer (who died years later) is buried only a short distance away in the same cemetery. The words carved on Katherine’s gravestone were requested by her grieving parents.