|Situated along the banks
of a riverbed running from East 90th Street and Woodland Avenue to the Flats
and Broadway Avenue in Cleveland, this urban wasteland is the site of one
the country's most infamous crimes. From 1934 until 1938, Kingsbury
Run became a grisly playground for the "Torso Killer." At least 13
documented murders are formally associated with the Torso Killer. Some
say that he may have been responsible for more than 30 killings here
and in other states.
Most of the victims were never identified. Officially, these crimes were never solved.
Above: Investigators dredge a sewage pool near E. 37th Street for pieces of victim #7
was blasted for this destructive action. Yet, the killings did seem to
stop. In 1939, police arrested Frank Dolezal for two of the murders.
However, he died in jail just before going to trial--from injuries he sustained
while in police custody.
Despite these issues, Eliot Ness publicly claimed that he solved the Kingsbury Run murders. But he did not name the killer.
Privately, it is said, Ness believed that the killer (who was from an influential family) voluntarily committed himself to a psychiatric hospital in 1938-1939 to avoid arrest and prosecution. From the hospital, he continued to taunt Ness, and even sent him postcards.
Below are pictures of some of those postcards allegedly sent from the killer.
|And what of the "Mad
Butcher" of Kingsbury Run? Many agree with Ness, and believe that the
serial killer later died in the psychiatric hospital.
Others theorize that the Mad Butcher simply moved on, and continued to kill in other states. Some even believe that he was responsible for the infamous Black Dahlia murder in California.
|The Torso Murder Exhibit (including one of three death masks) is currently
on display at the Cleveland Police Museum located at the Justice Center in downtown Cleveland.
For more gory details about the Kingsbury Run murders, check out the
Cleveland Police Museum's Torso Murders website.
UPDATE: The Kingsbury Run murderer may have also killed several people around Pittsburgh. The "Mad Butcher" has been linked to the slayings of seven people, whose mutilated skeletal remains were discovered buried in the infamous "Murder Swamp" located in New Castle, PA in the 1920's.
As George Swetnam writes in his book, Devils, Ghosts, and Witches: Occult Folklore of the Upper Ohio Valley (1988), the "Murder Swamp" is located around a small, unnamed island on the Beaver River, and is the dumping ground for many grisly murders. Most recently, in 1952, the decapitated body of a woman was found in a shallow grave on the island. As with prior murders discovered here, neither the victims nor the killer(s) were ever identified.