Apprehended the very same day in Boston
Searching in vain for Maren Hontvet, Louis Wagner rowed against the rising sun on the morning of March 6, 1873. He was spotted by at least seven witnesses after stashing his stolen boat in New Castle, NH and walking the last few miles to the gritty South End of Portsmouth, NH. Wind-burned, wild-eyed, cut, and distracted, Wagner spoke quickly with fellow tenants at the Johnson Boarding House on Water Street. Although disheveled and groggy from lack of sleep, Wagner inexplicably decided to hop the morning train to Boston. Penniless the day before, he now had about $16, exactly the sum stolen from Smuttynose Island the night before. In Boston he shaved, bought new clothes and boots, and was again broke when he stopped into the Brown's Boarding House in the city's North End. Boston police quickly spotted the fugitive who did not ask why he was being taken to the station house. After a night in jail, the prisoner was sent back to Portsmouth, NH under police escort where a lynch mob of angry citizens cried "Kill him! String him up!" Although she had not seen his face, Maren Hontvet testified that she heard her sister-in-law Anethe scream Wagner's name as he struck her down with the ax. Wagner denied all knowledge of the murder of his "best of friends." After being arraigned in South Berwick, Maine, he was sent to Saco, then Portland, Maine where hundreds of curious citizens were allowed to observe the prisoner in his cell.