A relative of Mr. Schmidt is the actual murderer. He worked part time in Mr. Schmidt's store. The town believed that the professor, a curio shop owner, was the murderer. The townspeople were afraid of him , but they had no basis for their fear.
When two girls in one year were killed, fear ran throughout the community. There was no proof that the professor had done the murders, but the speculation was always there. It wasn't until April was attacked, and the professor called for help, that people started to change their minds.