The Cleveland Torso Murderer, also known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, was a serial killer who tormented Cleveland, Ohio, citizens between 1934 and 1938. The murders were compared to Jack the Ripper, as neither killer was captured, despite a large number of suspects. There are some differences, however: Jack the Ripper preyed on prostitutes and "ladies of the night," while the Cleveland Torso Murderer killed transients, hobos, and other victims of the Great Depression who lived in local shantytowns. Another difference lies in the fact that the Butcher of Kingsbury Run dismantled his victim's bodies before dumping them in various places on Cleveland's East Side.
During the 1930s, Eliot Ness, fresh from his success in dealing with Chicago's mafia problem, became the safety director of Cleveland. He was tormented by the Torso Murderer, both literally and figuratively, and the unsolved case essentially destroyed his career. To this day, the Cleveland Torso Murderer case remains open.
He Dumped the Headless Torso of a Woman Into Lake Erie
The first official victim of the Torso Murderer is known as the Lady of the Lake. Her headless torso and thighs appeared on the shores of Lake Erie back in 1934. 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 of the Torso Murderer's killings was that of Edward Andrassy. He was found in Kingsbury Run, naked, except for a pair of socks. His blood had been drained from his body, and his head and genitals were surgically removed. The autopsy showed that he was alive when the decapitation took place. Another 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 - Her Head Was Never Found
Flo Polillo was a local waitress, bar maid, and prostitute. Parts of her body were found near the intersection of Central Avenue and East 20th streets. Roughly half of her body was wrapped in newspaper and stuffed into a basket. Ten days later, the rest of her body - minus her head, which was never found - was recovered in a vacant lot a few blocks away. She was identified by her fingerprints, and beheading was her official cause of death.
He Beheaded Several Victims While They Were Still Alive
Two of the known victims - Flo Polillo and Edward Andrassy - were beheaded while they were alive. This was the case with several of the unidentified victims, as well. Autopsy resulted proved this, and in the case of a few of the killer's later casualties, the victims had been drugged with an unknown substance. This is proof that the Torso Murderer's M.O. changed over time.