In 1908 Belle Gunness enticed fourteen men to her farm in Laporte, Indiana, by promising them marriage. She would drug them in their sleep, steal their wallets, and kill them and later burn the body. Her motive was gain.
Her accomplice and lover was Ray Lamphere who worked as a handyman on the farm. Belle was widowed when her husband died from an accident on the farm leaving her alone with their 3 children, soon after she fell in love with Lamphere.
Gunness advertised in the newspapers in Chicago for suitors. Many men replied, went to the farm, and were killed.
In 1908 Andrew Helgelien replied to the ad and headed to the farm, with him he carried a substantial amount of money to which Belle said was needed to pay off a mortgage on the farm.
On 28 April 1908 the Gunness farm was destroyed by a fire. Inside the ruins they discovered a badly burnt female body which they thought was Belle and 3 dead children. They were not sure of the identity of the female body though as it had been decapitated. It seemed that the woman had been killed and the farm burned to destroy evidence. The police found Belle's denture in the ashes and were convinced that the corpse was that of Belle. After digging in the farm they discovered the corpses of 14 men, including that of Andrew Helgelien.
Ray Lamphere was arrested on suspicion of murder, he also told the police of his affair with Belle. Lamphere was charged with murder and arson and sentenced to 21 years in the Indiana State Penitentiary. In prison Lamphere told a cellmate that Belle had lured a woman to the farm for means of a corpse, then burned down the farm containing the dead body. She had then thrown her denture in the fire and escaped with the money of her victims. True or not, Belle Gunness was never seen again.