Gein was a handyman and received a farm subsidy from the federal government starting in 1951.He occasionally worked for the local municipal road crew and crop-threshing crews in the area.A Plainfield resident reported that the hardware store's truck had been driven out from the rear of the building around am.
According to Gein, Augusta witnessed Smith beating a dog. What bothered her did not appear to be the brutality toward the dog but the presence of the woman.A woman inside the Smith home came outside and yelled to stop. Augusta told Ed that the woman was not married to Smith so had no business being there. She had a second stroke soon after, and her health deteriorated rapidly. Ed was devastated by her death; in the words of author Harold Schechter, he had "lost his only friend and one true love.He enjoyed babysitting, seeming to relate more easily to children than adults.Henry began dating a divorced, single mother of two and planned on moving in with her; Henry worried about his brother's attachment to their mother and often spoke ill of her around Ed, who responded with shock and hurt.Sometime between 19, he also sold an 80-acre parcel of land that his brother Henry had owned.
On the morning of November 16, 1957, Plainfield hardware store owner Bernice Worden disappeared.Augusta was fervently religious, and nominally Lutheran.She preached to her boys about the innate immorality of the world, the evil of drinking, and her belief that all women (except herself) were naturally prostitutes and instruments of the devil.With lanterns and flashlights, a search party searched for Henry, whose dead body was found lying face down. Augusta had a paralyzing stroke shortly after Henry's death, and Gein devoted himself to taking care of her.Sometime in 1945, Gein later recounted, he and his mother visited a man named Smith, who lived nearby, to purchase straw.Gein lived thereafter in a small room next to the kitchen.