Walburga “Dolly” Korschel was born in 1880. She was a German immigrant who grew up on a Midwestern farm. Dolly’s family didn’t have much, but when she was 20 she married Fred Oesterreich, a wealthy apron factory owner. The couple took up residence in a Milwaukee mansion. However, despite their well-off status, the Oesterreich’s were far from being a happy couple.
Dolly later claimed that Fred was a drunk and that their sex life was far from satisfying. It wasn’t long after their marriage that Dolly’s eyes began drifting towards other men. Then one day in 1913, Dolly found a solution to her longing.
One morning, before he left for his faction, thirty-three-year-old Dolly asked her husband if he could send one of his workers over to repair her broken sewing machine. Fred sent over seventeen-year-old Otto Sanhuber. When Otto arrived he was greeted by Dolly who was wearing nothing but a silk robe. The sewing machine didn’t get fixed that day, however a long love affair was started.
At first, Dolly and Otto carried out their affair at a local hotel. Eventually, Dolly was emboldened enough to continue the tryst in her own marital bed. It didn’t take long for neighbors’ suspicions over Dolly’s frequent guest to grow. Dolly’s solution to her neighbor’s prying eyes was to have Otto quit his job and move into her attic. The arrangement came with one major flaw- Otto would have to remain in the attic at all times and would never be able to leave the house. Otto, being a young man, would lose out on some very important socialization skills that would become quite apparent later on. For years, Otto remained up in the attic, a willing sex slave for a woman he later said he loved “as a boy loves his mother.” From his attic, furnished only with a cot and a desk, Otto became obsessed with the pulp novels that Dolly would bring him from the library. Otto eventually was compelled to write his own, and even had a few published under a pen name.
As this sordid relationship carried on, husband Fred became increasingly suspicious- or thought he might be going insane. He complained to his wife that he was hearing noises from the attic. He also thought he was seeing strange shadows passing through the hallway at night, and he definitely noticed that his cigars were disappearing. In 1918, Fred and Dolly moved to Los Angeles, with Otto following close behind. The family moved into a new mansion complete with an attic, which was one of Dolly’s stipulations for moving. Not long after they settled into the house, Otto took up residency in their attic.
While in Los Angeles, Fred’s drinking increased, and he became more violent. Then on August 22, 1922, the couple had their worst fight ever. The fight grew increasingly physical, and Otto believed that Fred may have been close to killing Dolly. Armed with Fred’s rifle, Otto came out of his attic sanctuary and shot Fred, killing him.
After the smoke cleared, Dolly and Otto came up with a plan to make Fred’s death look like a robbery gone wrong. Otto took Fred’s diamond watch along with a few other pieces of jewelry. He then locked Dolly in the closet and escaped back to his attic. From the closet, Dolly began to scream until a neighbor heard her and called the police. When the police arrived, the scene looked just as Dolly and Otto had planned. Fred’s murder was believed to be the result of a robbery gone wrong. Afterwards, Dolly inherited Fred’s fortune. She bought a new house, with an attic, and Dolly and Otto lived a normal life together as lovers. Although Otto still preferred to spend most of his time in the attic.
With Otto holed up, Dolly began dating her lawyer, Herman Shapiro. She also began making some very critical mistakes, the least of which was giving her dead husband’s supposedly stolen diamond watch to Shapiro as a gift. When Shapiro questioned this, Dolly claimed that she had found it under a couch cushion. Dolly also took on a third lover by the name of Roy Klumb who she enlisted to dump the murder weapon in the La Brea tar pits.
In 1923, after breaking up with Klumb, the police found out about Frank’s watch and the disposal of the murder weapon. They arrested Dolly, but couldn’t hold her for very long because they still couldn’t explain how she locked herself in the closet. Then Dolly made an even bigger mistake. While under arrest, she asked Shapiro to take some food to her derelict half-brother who was living in her attic. Otto, overwhelmed by the prospect of speaking to another man for the first time in years, began happily divulging his entire story to Shapiro. After hearing his tale, Shapiro demanded that Otto leave the attic instantly. Terrified, Otto ran away to Canada.
Then in 1930, Shapiro and Dolly ended their relationship. Coincidentally, Otto had just moved back to Los Angeles. Shapiro told the police about Otto and the police promptly arrested both him and Dolly for murder. At trial, Otto was found guilty of manslaughter, however, the statute of limitations had already run out on that conviction so the charges were dropped.
Dolly was acquitted. She found a new lover whom she married and remained with up until her death in 1961. Otto left Los Angeles and eventually vanished into obscurity. At trial, the papers dubbed him “The Bat Man of Los Angeles” (the comic book Batman had not yet been published). Although he viewed himself as a victim of love, the papers had no problem labeling him a sexual deviant. Otto’s life after Dolly remains a complete mystery. His six brothers and sisters all lived out the remainder of their days in Milwaukee, and whether or not Otto rejoined them still remains unknown.