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Holmes denied any involvement in the child's death and immediately left the city.Right before moving to Chicago, he changed his name to Henry Howard Holmes to avoid the possibility of being exposed by victims of his previous scams. He filed for divorce from Clara a few weeks after marrying Myrta, alleging infidelity on her part, but the claims could not be proven and the suit went nowhere.Their search made the news, and investors for the planned hotel pulled out of the deal when a jeweler in the building showed them the articles.The hotel was burned to the ground shortly after Holmes was executed and eventually became a post office in the 1930s.At the age of 16, Holmes graduated from high school and took teaching jobs in Gilmanton and later in nearby Alton.On July 4, 1878, he married Clara Lovering in Alton; their son, Robert Lovering Mudgett, was born on February 3, 1880, in Loudon, New Hampshire.He later traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and eventually got a job as a keeper at Norristown State Hospital, but quit after a few days.
Holmes married Georgiana Yoke on January 17, 1894, in Denver, Colorado, Holton gave Holmes a job, and he proved himself to be a hardworking employee, eventually buying the store.After Conner found out about Smythe's affair with Holmes, he quit his job and moved away, leaving Smythe and her daughter Pearl behind.Smythe gained custody of Pearl and remained at the hotel, continuing her relationship with Holmes.One of Holmes' early murder victims was his mistress, Julia Smythe.She was the wife of Ned (Icilius) Conner, who had moved into Holmes' building and began working at his pharmacy's jewelry counter.
Many now-common stories of his crimes sprang from fictional accounts that later authors took for fact; however, in a 2017 biography, Adam Selzer wrote that Holmes' story is "effectively a new American tall tale – and, like all the best tall tales, it sprang from a kernel of truth". During his trial for the murder of Pitezel, Holmes confessed to numerous other killings.