Death in White Bear Lake

Barry Siegel, Author
Barry Siegel, Author Bantam Books $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-553-05790-4
Reviewed on: 06/05/1990
Release date: 06/01/1990
This is a masterfully depicted true-crime tale of the murder of a child by his adoptive mother and the resolution of the case 27 years later. In 1980 Jerry Sherwood, who had given her first child up for adoption, searched for him only to discover that Dennis had died at age three in 1965 under mysterious circumstances. Her accusations prodded the town of White Bear Lake in Wisconsin, which had already suspected adoptive mother Lois Jurgens of killing the child, into action. The resultant trial, a landmark case, established the legal principle that circumstantial evidence is sufficient to convict in a child-abuse case, and served to reinforce the now commonly accepted contention that those abused as children frequently become child abusers themselves. Jurgens is now in prison. This perceptive analysis of the case by a Los Angeles Times reporter is stirring. Photos not seen by PW. (July)