Bio: Laykovich, Frank (1936)

Contact:  stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

----Sources: Neillsville Press 02/20/1936

Kills Wife and Child at Willard

"My wife wouldn’t talk to me and wouldn’t eat with me. Doggone, that make me sorry. I like to talk to people. She never say anything to me."

Those words and fancied charges of infidelity against his wife came from Frank Laykovich, Sr., 56 years old, of Willard, Tuesday afternoon as he sat in the Clark County jail and summed up for a Press representative the reasons behind years of brooding that ended at 5 a.m. Tuesday when he walked into his wife’s bedroom and shot her and their 3-year-old-son, Eugene, killing both instantly. One shot from the .380 automatic pistol entered the child’s neck and the other pierced Mrs. Laykovich’s left breast. She was partly dressed and Eugene was clad in a suit of overalls when found. Clayton, 7 months old, who with Eugene slept with their mother, was in bed unharmed.

Five other children of the nine children in the family were at home and might have met a similar fate had not Frank, 25 years old, who was asleep upstairs above his mother’s bedroom, rushed down as the first shot was fired and grabbed his father just after he had fired the second time. The son wrested the gun away from his parent and struck him a blow on the head with the weapon, knocking him to the floor. Mr. Laykovich got up and made no effort to harm the rest of the children, and calmly awaited until Constable Busher of the Town of Henren arrived from Willard and placed him under arrest.

The bodies were taken to the Schiller Undertaking rooms at Greenwood.

Mr. Laykovick, it was stated by acquaintances, has for some years been under a delusion that his wife was unfaithful and told of men hiding in the chicken coop and pig pen to watch until they were sure he was away from home. It was reported he dug a hold through the cellar wall several years ago from which he looked for these imaginary visitors.

Mr. Laykovich also is said to have stayed up late nights to watch for these callers whom he believed were coming into the house. It was reported that Tuesday moring he was up from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m., and that his son, Frank, had been with him for a time trying to get him to go to bed.

Toward morning the son retired and what happened between then and the time of the shooting is not known, except what Mr. Laykovich said in jail.

"I went into the bedroom" he asserted, "and asked her who was it this time?" and she laughed and told me to get out of the bedroom. "I don’t remember much that happened then. I’s, sorry, but it’s too late now."

When called upon in his cell Mr. Laykovich sat writing his version of the shooting. He was wearing a neat dark suit, a soft gray felt hat and a new pair of rubbers. He arose and extended his had at introduction, saying, "I suppose you want Richardson", sheriff, who was present, said: "Well, Frank, it will be in the papers anyway," and Mr. Laykovich replied, "Yes, I suppose so."

Mr. Laykovich, who was a native of Jugo Slavia, talks rapidly with a slight accent and appears to be a man of considerable intelligence when talking of matters other than his domestic difficulties. He appeared particularly grieved over his wife’s failure to talk with him and accused her of interfering with him when he attempted to teach the younger children how to talk properly.

"I tried to teach them," he said, "but she would get behind me and laugh and the children got so they wouldn’t pay any attention to me."

Just before the interview ended Mr. Laykovich said: "Maybe you thing I talk too much. But I like to talk and be with people. Maybe I’ll do more talking now than I have in the last 22 years. I like it."

Then supper was brought in for him and he said: "It is that late already," and sat down to eat, ending his conversation with, "I’m glad I met you."

At the Laykovich farm, one and a half miles northwest of Willard, with its fine large buildings, three of the children, Emily 13 years old, Lillian, 7 and Clayton 7 months old, were being comforted by Mrs. Andrew Korenchan, a neighbor, and several young girls from nearby farms. Emily, upon who shoulders rests the responsibility of carrying on the household, for the present at least, is hopeful her two sisters, Rosalyn, 21, and Angeline, 20, who are employed in Chicago, will remain at home and help run the farm.

Emily, who is in the eighth grade at the Willard Graded School, was on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor at the time the reporter arrived. She is a pretty youngster, but the corners of her mouth were drawn down and her expression was pitiful as she bravely tried to conceal her emotions from those about her.

In a low, halting voice Emily gave the information for her mother’s obituary, pausing frequently to bite her under lip to keep back the sobs that seemed so near. And whatever Emily may thing of her father’s deed she keep it to herself, but one sensed there was little bitterness in her heart, a heart young as it is, that has room only for sorrow and compassion in this hour of tragedy.

"Mother was 45 years old and was born in Jugo-Slavia," she began, "Her name was Agatha Vessel and she lived first at Gardener, Mont., with relatives. They’re dead now. She was married 25 years ago. The children are Frank, 25 years old; Joe, 23; Rosalyn, 21; Angeline, 20; Ernest, 16; Emily, 13; Lillian, 7; Eugene would have been 3 years old Feb. 20, and Clayton is 7 months old. Lillian is in the second grade at school.

"They’ve lived on this farm 23 years. I think the funeral will be held Friday afternoon from the Holy Family Church at Willard. Father John Trinko is the pastor. Mother was Catholic.

"Rosalyn and Angeline are coming from Chicago. We sent them a telegram. I think they will stay and help. I hope they do."

Mr. Laykovich was a coal miner at the time of their marriage.

Sheriff Richardson, Under-sheriff Mada Maddsen and P. C. Ludovic, coroner, responded to the call from Willard early Tuesday morning and after questioning members of the family brought Mr. Laykovich to jail Wednesday.

It is likely that Mr. Laykovich will be given a sanity hearing. As yet no charges have been preferred against him.

Mr. Richardson states that residents of Willard speak highly of Mrs. Laykovich and ridicule Mr. Laykovich’s charges. A number of persons who know him state that he has acted strangely for a number of years and sometime ago a move was started to have him undergo a sanity hearing. A son, Joe, was taken to Mendota asylum Dec 5.

 

 


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