The Cleveland Torso Murderer was a serial killer active in the United States, more precisely in Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1930s. To date, his identity is still unknown and the mystery of his murders remains unresolved.
The Cleveland Torso Murderer
United States, 1930. This decade represents a moment of change, both in positive and in negative: World War I has ended, the first car with engine is completed and the first comic strip of Mickey Mouse is published.
In contrast to these epoch-making events, another equally important event is bringing millions of people to their knees: the Great Depression, which began in the United States.
In this climate of poverty, there are many poor people. Thousands of people have neither a job nor a home and they made the perfect victims for the Cleveland Torso murderer. Desperate people who are easy to approach.
Who was the Cleveland Torso Murderer?
We don’t have a name for this serial killer yet, but there were several suspects at the time. The first was Frank Dolezal, who died under suspicious circumstances shortly after his arrest.
The other name related to the Cleveland Torso Murderer is that of Dr. Francis E. Sweeney, a doctor in charge of amputations during World War I. He took the polygraph test twice and never passed it. However, the charges were suspended as he was a relative of a politician.
In 1997 another hypothesis was made, namely that there is not just one serial killer. Given the inconclusive results of the autopsies, it is possible that these murders, which took place between 1935 and 1938, were carried out by several unrelated people.
The official victims
The official number of victims is 12, but recently some studies have led to think that they could be up to 20, all unknown except victim number 1 and number 3.
The MO can be guessed from the nickname of the killer. The killer always decapitated his victims, sometimes dismembered and, often, the men were castrated.
- Edward Andrassy: Beheaded and avoided, found about 3 days after his death. The head was also found.
- John Doe I: Beheaded and avoided, the head was recovered. He was found about a month after his death and his skin had been treated with chemicals.
- Florence Genevieve Polillo: Torn and beheaded, her head was never found. The victim was found about 3 days after her death.
- John Doe II: (The Tattooed Man): Beheaded while still alive, the head was recovered. Found about 2 days after his death.
- John Doe III: Torn while still alive, head recovered. The victim was found about two months after his death.
- John Doe IV: Found two days after death, only half of his body remained. Neither his head nor any other body parts were ever found.
- Jane Doe I: The first unidentified woman, found about 4 days after her death, was also torn apart. Her head has never been found
- Jane Doe II: The only black victim, found one year after her death. She was beheaded and her head was found later. The body was also missing a rib.
- John Doe V: Found two or three days after his death, he was beheaded and his head was never found.
- Jane Doe III: Found about 5 days after death, initially only the lower part of one leg and, later, the thigh were found. Then, under a bridge, the torso, cut in half, and other pieces of the body were recovered.
- Jane Doe IV: Decapitated, head recovered. Found after about 4 months from death.
- John Doe VI: Found about 7 months after death, her head was found in a jar.
In addition to the list of official victims, there are other victims who may have been killed by the Cleveland Torso Murderer. The most famous is the so-called Lady of the Lake, a woman found near Lake Erie and considered by some to be the first victim of the serial killer.
Death masks of some of the victims have been created, in the hope that someone could recognize them, giving them a name. None, however, has been recognised.
The Butcher of Cleveland hasn’t got a name yet, but you never know. Perhaps, with modern technology, you can finally give a name to this monster.
What do you think? Will we ever know who the real killer was?