10 Brutal And Disturbing Facts About The Cleveland Torso Murderer

The Cleveland Torso Murderer, also known as the "Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run," was a prolific serial killer who tormented the citizens of Cleveland, OH, between 1934 and 1938. The string of cases was compared to England's elusive Jack the Ripper, as neither culprit was captured, despite a large number of suspects. There are some differences, however. Jack the Ripper exclusively preyed on "ladies of the night," while the Mad Butcher targeted transients, homeless people, and other victims of the Great Depression who lived in local shantytowns. Another difference lies in the fact that Cleveland's infamous predator was notorious for dismantling his victim's bodies before dumping them in various places on the East Side.

During the 1930s, Eliot Ness, fresh from his success in dealing with Chicago's underworld problem, became the safety director of Cleveland. He was tormented by the Mad Butcher, both literally and figuratively, and the unsolved case essentially destroyed his career. To this day, the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run case remains open.

  • The Mad Butcher Dumped The Headless Torso Of A Woman Into Lake Erie

    The first official victim of the Mad Butcher is known as the Lady of the Lake. In 1934, her headless torso and thighs were found on the shores of Lake Eerie. Part of her skin had chemical-like burns on it that had caused it to become red and leathery. Because her head and arms were never found, she remains unidentified.

    At the time, the police thought the body was an isolated incident and processed the scene accordingly.

  • He Removed The Head And Genitals Of Edward Andrassy While He Was Still Alive

    The most brutal offenses the Mad Butcher enacted are evident in victim Edward Andrassy. Andrassy's decapitated body was found completely naked, except for his socks. He had been surgically castrated and all of the blood was drained from his body. 

    Another male body was found nearby, also butchered, although this one was burned in the same manner as the Lady in the Lake. This victim was never identified.

  • He Wrapped Half Of Flo Polillo In Newspaper, But Her Head Was Never Found

    Flo Polillo was a local waitress, barmaid, and sexual services worker. Roughly half of her body was found wrapped in newspaper and stuffed into two baskets near the intersection of Central Avenue and East 20th streets. The rest of her body was found 10 days later, except that it was missing her head, which was never found.

    She was identified by her fingerprints, and decapitation was her official cause of death.

  • He Removed The Heads Of Several Victims While They Were Still Alive

    It's believed that two of the known victims - Flo Polillo and Edward Andrassy - had their heads removed while they were still alive. This was the case with several of the unidentified victims, as well. In the case of at least one later casualty, drugs were found in the victim's system.

  • He Terminated Six People In 1936 Alone

    Overall, there are at least 12 victims attributed to the Mad Butcher, beginning with the Lady of Lake in 1934 and ending with the last discovery on August 16, 1938. Two days after that, Eliot Ness had a bunch of officers dismantle and burn down the shantytown in Kingsbury Run. Although this might have been a coincidence, the slayings stopped.

    However, 1936 remained the culprit's bloodiest year, as six of his victims were dispatched and discovered during that year. That year, the case began with the discovery of Flo Polillo in January, then followed with two unknown men in June, another in July, and two more in September, all chopped into pieces. Most of these victims remain unidentified.

  • He Used A Chemical Preservative On Some Victims And Refrigerated Others

    He Used A Chemical Preservative On Some Victims And Refrigerated Others
    Photo: André Künzelmann / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The first few of the Mad Butcher's victims had red leathery patches of skin that looked as though they had been subjected to chemical burns. It is unknown whether the use of chemicals occurred before or after their passings.

    Parts of the last two victims had the hallmarks of refrigeration and were wrapped in butcher paper before being placed in a box.