Johann Eichhorn – the Beast of Bavaria

For eleven years, he was the terror of Munich. Nobody knows for sure how many victims Johann Eichhorn – who once said about himself “he was like a wild animal” – really claimed. He was convicted for five murders and 90 cases of rape, but he probably committed several hundred more sexual delicts.

It all began in 1928. In West Munich, several young women were brutally attacked, threatened with a gun or knife, raped and sometimes also robbed. 

In five cases, the victims were murdered and their bodies savagely mutilated. Until on January 29, 1939, a man was seen attacking a 12-year-old girl and subsequently arrested: a locksmith and former railway worker named Johann (Hans) Eichhorn, then aged 32, married, two children, known as a regular guy and good father.

In the following weeks,  some of the incidents could be traced to him. After a mole in prison passed some more information to the police, he finally broke down and confessed.

He had met his first murder victim, a 16-year old maidservant named Katharina Schaetzl, on October 11, 1931, on Wiesn (during the Oktoberfest). They agreed to go on a bicycle tour to Ebenhausen, but during that trip, all of a sudden, Eichhorn attacked Katharina, raped and strangled her, weighed down her body with stones and threw it into the Isar. She was found some time later, and a replica of her head was made for a public attempt to identify her.

This sculpture of Katharina´s head was used for a public attempt to identify her.

Three years later, in 1934, Eichhorn attacked Anna Geltl. The 26 year old wife of a hairdresser was crossing Forstenrieder Park on her bicycle when she was dragged into the bushes. Eichhorn shoot her into the head and cut her genitalia out with a knife.

Only a few weeks later, he attacked Berta Sauerbeck, a 25-year-old office worker. She, too, was dragged off her bike. As she desperately fought her attacker, he shot her in the head and raped her. Then he threw her into a dump – severely wounded but still alive – and buried her underneath some waste.  During his trial, Eichhorn later explained that he needed violence to achieve sexual arousal.

For years, the man was leading a perfect double life, in a long-time relationship with his later wife who was into rough sex. But for him, that was not enough. Three months before their marriage, he murdered his fourth victim.

 Rosa Eigelein, a 25-year old seamstress. She, too, was dragged off her bike, shot in the head, raped and her genitalia mutilated with a knife. Her body was just left by the roadside. Eichhorn didn´t even try to hide it.

Rosa Eigelein, her skull with the bullet hole

Maria Joerg was his fifth victim, a 23-year-old maidservant. She, too, is dragged off her bike, shot and mutilated and then buried in Forstenrieder Park – close to where Eichhorn had killed his first victim Maria.

After his arrest, Eichhorn was seen by doctors and psychologists. He was 1,73m tall, slim and muscular, with large hands and a large mouth with miserable teeth in spite of his young age. The psychologists assess him as “intellectually not below average… but ethically and morally low, unstable, unrestrained, with an unusually strong sexual drive, a psychopath.”

In November 1939, he was convicted to death by beheading. The execution was on December 1st. His wife and sons changed their names and left the area.

To this day, Eichhorn is one of the most savage and cruel murderers in German criminal history. Nevertheless, his case is little known, probably due to the fact that he was a member of NSDAP and the case was pretty much hushed up in its time.   

Based on an article by Sven Rieber in: http://www.merkur-online.de/lokales/muenchen-west/johann-eichhorn-bestie-aubing-751796.html, all images taken from there.

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Jack the Ripper – some news

TheDaily Telegraph ran an interesting article on the Ripper yesterday.

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8514000/Scotland-Yard-fights-to-keep-Jack-the-Ripper-files-secret.html

Scotland Yard is battling to keep 123-year-old files on Jack the Ripper secret.

Four thick ledgers compiled by Special Branch officers have been kept under lock and key since the Whitechapel murders in 1888.

Jack the Ripper murders reported by the Police News

Trevor Marriott, a Ripper investigator and former murder squad detective, has spent three years attempting to obtain uncensored versions of the documents.

But he has been repeatedly refused because the ledgers contain the identities of police informants – and the Metropolitan Police insist that revealing the information could compromise their attempts to gather information from “supergrasses” and other modern-day informants.

Last week, Mr Marriott took Scotland Yard to a tribunal in a last-ditch attempt to see the journals – containing 36,000 entries – which he believes contain evidence which could finally unmask the world’s most famous serial killer. ….

The ledgers provide details of the police’s dealings with thousands of informants from 1888 to 1912, including some who provided information during the original Ripper investigation. … According to Mr Marriott, the files contain the names of at least four new suspects, as well as other pieces of evidence.

… On uncovering references to the ledgers in 2008, Mr Marriott applied to see the documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The Met refused and he appealed to the Information Commissioner who also decided the books should not be revealed. Now Mr Marriott has undergone the final appeal stage to the Information Tribunal, in which the case is heard by a panel of three judges.

The three-day hearing involved a detective inspector, identified only as ‘D’, speaking to the court from behind a screen because of his sensitive role running the force’s intelligence-gathering operation from informants. Detective Inspector ‘D’ told the tribunal that unveiling the files could deter informants from coming forward in future, and could even put off members of the public from phoning Crimestoppers or the antiterrorist hotline. Det Insp ‘D’ said the passage of time did not make publication of informants’ identities less sensitive because their descendants could be targeted by criminals with a grudge.

Another senior officer, Detective Superintendent Julian McKinney, told the tribunal that releasing names would make police officers less capable of preventing terrorist attacks and organised crime, and make informants vulnerable to attack.Det Supt McKinney said: “Regardless of the time, regardless of whether they are dead, they should never be disclosed. “They come to us only when they have the confidence in our system that their identity will not be disclosed.”

But Mr Marriott said a number of historical files have previously been released which contained details of informants. He argued there was no evidence to show descendants of informants who have been named had come to harm.

This is an interesting development. Looking back at my previous JtR post, I have tried to make clear under what enormous pressure the police were at the time to catch the killer and stop the murders. It would have been in their own best interest to let the public know as soon as they could that a) the danger posed by the Ripper was no more and that b) the credit for this belonged to them, that they had done a good job in protecting the public.  

And yet, no such announcement was ever made. The case was allowed to gradually fade from attention. There was no large-scale announcement that the Ripper was gone, people were safe now, police was not as goofy as they had been thought to be. They took the risk that panic would break out anew in the East End, caused by any murder similar enough to give the public the impression that the Ripper was back. And when  there were indeed a number of similar murders over the next two years, none were conclusively linked to the Ripper, and none were treated the same way by the police.

Perhaps the police really had no idea who the Ripper was and were simply trying to soft-pedal. On the other hand, we do have statements of several members of the police force that the police did indeed know who the Ripper was, giving different reasons just why there had not been an arrest and the killings had stopped.

The ledgers and the secrecy that still surrounds them support the theory that at least some of the police exactly knew who was behind the Ripper killings – and that there is a reason why this has to be kept quiet until today. In fact, the varying statements of police officials as to the identity of the Ripper could have been purposeful desinformation.

As one user on Casebook states: “As the article explains, the Special Branch Registers and Ledgers contain suspect names that pertain to these events. 4 more suspects. Special Branch themselves therefore were involved in this investigation. That means there was involvement on a political or national security level of some sort. That is what Special Branch, deal with. … Now that tells me that if the Whitechapel murders were subject to Special Branch involvement, there are things that we know nothing about. If Special Branch have listed suspects under THEIR watch, then political invovement exists. That is the nature of Special Branch activity.” http://forum.casebook.org/showpost.php?p=174744&postcount=164

What happened to Madeleine McCann?

Four years ago, in May 2007, a little girl vanished from her family´s holiday apartment at the Algarve, Portugal. The case has been much publicized, so most people will be familiar with the basics.

Madeleine, almost four, had been left in the apartment sleeping, along with her two younger siblings, while the parents had dinner with their friends at the holiday complex´ restaurant a stone´s throw away. Occasional checks on the children showed everything was alright. Then, suddenly, Kate McCann came back from the apartment screaming that Maddie was gone – “they´ve taken her”.

While the parents insist to this day that their daughter has been abducted by a stranger, there is a lot about this theory and the case itself that doesn´t add up.

After the Portuguese police closed the case in 2008, their files have been made public and can be seen, along with many other documents about the case, at: http://www.mccannfiles.com/

As the case has recently announced to be up for a review by Scotland Yard, I would like to point everyone interested to this bilingual blog:  http://unterdenteppichgekehrt.blogspot.com/  which points out a lot of what doesn´t add up about this case and puts together a convincing theory of what might really have happened and why the McCanns do not want the world to know.

Until Maddie is found, alive or dead, we will probably never know which theory is right.

Personally, I tend to consider Johanna´s theory rather likely, because the more I read about this case the more I notice parallels between the McCann´s actions and those of the Ramseys. 

The unsolved death of little JonBenet Ramsey actually warrants a post of its own, but to give you a short rundown:  John and Patsy Ramsey got up on Christmas morning, 1996, to find a very peculiar ransom note claiming their 6-year-old daughter had been taken.  They alarmed the police and soon after, the little girl was found dead in the basement of the house. The autopsy revealed previous sexual abuse of JonBenet, who had frequently participated at beauty pageants.  In most true crime forums I´ve looked at, the two main theories about her death are shortened to “IDI” (intruder did it) or “RDI” (Ramseys did it). My personal impression is that the latter is the case: JonBenet died in a domestic accident, which was subsequently covered up.

Some notable parallels between both cases:

– The parents insist that a stranger caused the death/disappearance of their child.

– The parents lawyer up quickly and refuse to answer questions by the police.

– The parents change their story about what happened before the disappearance was noticed.

– The parents make extensive use of the media to spread their theory of what happened.

– The parents take legal action against some of those that propagate other theories.

– The parents initiate a foundation to fund the search for the missing child/the killer and protect children from predators. Said foundation is not very active.

– The parents write a book in which they present their version of what happened.

– The parents are wealthy and well-connected; when they are suspected by the police of having been involved in what happened, protection seems to come into play.

– In both cases, the theory has been brought up that a pedophile network might have been behind it. Whether  a pedophile network was active in Boulder, Colorado and/or Praia de Luz at the time or not, it seems the police decidedly not wanted to go in that direction with their inquiries, not because it is actually unlikely in either case but rather because “someone” did not want them to; possibly because they might have dug up things unrelated with the case in question but still very nasty.

– In both cases, there is plenty of evidence that supports the theory that the little girl died in an accident with her parents being involved and then covering up what happened for fear of losing custody of their other children as well as social status.  In both cases there is plenty of evidence that supports the theory that there was no  “intruder” and the abduction scenario was merely set up. The parents actively try to write off/discredit  this evidence.

– In interviews, the parents/family displays some “understanding”, even “forgiveness” for the person responsible for what happened to their child.

Andrea Maria Schenkel: Tannoed

This book, based on the 1922 Hinterkaifeck murders I talked about earlier, has received many accolades. The German original was on the Spiegel bestseller list for a long time, has been praised here, there and everywhere and was made into a movie (English title: The Murder Farm). I´ll be upfront: I don´t see why.

“Tannoed” is very short – 120 pages in the German softcover edition. 24 of these are either blank spaces or contain a prayer litany quoted from a 1922 prayer book. That leaves 96 pages worth of text.

Two thirds of these consist of short statements from various locals people  about the murder victims, when they were last seen and the circumstances in which they were discovered. To piece together the events that led up to the murder in this way, from various perspectives that create a more complex picture in the reader´s eyes, is a legitimate writing technique. But I just recently re-read Dorothy Sayers´ “The Documents in the Case” where the same technique has been applied so much better. Where Sayers creates vivid characters whose statements give an individual insight both into their own personality and into the events they relate, most of Schenkel´s statements sound alike, exchangeable in tone. The people that are supposedly “quoted” are hardly characterized, they remain reduced to names and labels, and their opinions of the murder victims do not differ much from one another. The language, High German with a regional flavour, also feels contrived, but then if people who speak dialect in their everyday lives (as many country people do) try to speak High German, it usually has a contrived feel to it, so this is sort of acceptable.

Having read about Hinterkaifeck already, there was pretty little in these statements that was in any way new or surprising. About everyone of the people spoken to in the book has a real-life counterpart in a person that was actually interviewed by police in the Hinterkaifeck case, and the statements in the book differ little from the documented statements in the case. There´s the mechanic who came to the farm the day before the murders were discovered, the sister of the new maid who was killed along with the family, the men and boys involved in the discovery of the bodies, the parson, been there, done that, read that statement. Schenkel´s version of the case is set in the 1950s (but it might as well have been set in the 1980s), so the main difference between the original statements and hers is the odd reference to WW2 and the post-War years, which sometimes feels as if the author simply looked up main events of the times in Wikipedia and made sure to squeeze a mention of them in here or there. Schenkel was born in 1962, and it shows.

The structure of the book is jumbled (I do not call it “non-linear” on purpose).

It begins with an introduction by an un-named first person narrator who has grown up in Tannoed, then moved away, later returns after the murders have happened and is now supposedly the person conducting the interviews and gathering all the statements, or maybe isn´t:  We will never know, because this narrator is never heard of again afterwards. There is no “detective”, nor is there a framing plot outside of the actual murders.

We then get alternating “Lord have mercy on us” quotes from the prayer litany, statements from the villagers, and omniscient narrator passages narrated in present tense. Some of them accompany an unknown male going about his work on the farm (the murderer, who indeed must have stayed on the farm for days after the deed tending to the animals). Some of them accompany the murder victims in their last hours on the fatal night. And some of them accompany a vagrant named Mich who hides on the farm planning to rob it and becomes a witness to the murder. While these short vignettes seem to show a little more creative contribution by the author than the statements, if you are familiar with the Hinterkaifeck case, you will quickly realize that they, too, contain little that is not actually already provided by the case documents, embellished on a daytime court drama level.

In an interview in the annex of the book, the author says that she did read about Hinterkaifeck but then put that all aside and let her imagination roam – if that is so, it sure did not go very far. There is little to be found in Tannoed that is not available in more detail, and more important: more authentic, in the various Hinterkaifeck resources.

Peter Leuschner, the author of the two main non-fiction books on Hinterkaifeck, has in fact sued Schenkel for plagiarism. This is not at all surprising, since most parts of the book really give the impression to have been lifted from the available documents, shortened here and there, some names changed, some references to the 1950s forced in, but very little original work added.

It is more surprising, and saddening, that Leuschner lost his case, but I was told years ago by a lawyer that that´s simply the nature of legal cases connected with copyright issues. No matter how well documented your case may be, no matter how obvious it all seems, the outcome is never certain and depends completely on the judges. Sometimes I really do not have much confidence in our legal system.

Schenkel´s second book, Kalteis (Ice Cold), is also based on a true case:  This time, it´s Bavarian serial killer Johann Eichhorn, who was active in the 1930s, who provides the base for her Johann Kalteis. The case sounds interesting, but I plan to read up on the true Eichhorn and skip Schenkel´s version. This author, I´m afraid, is not my cup of tea.

Christina Collins – the “real” Joanna Franks

As a follow-up to yesterday´s post…

“Christina Collins was 37 years old when she was brutally raped and murdered by three drunken bargemen whilst travelling by barge to join her husband, Robert Collins in London.
Her body was discovered in the canal at Rugeley on June 17th 1839. She was carried up the infamous local ‘Bloody Steps’ into the Talbot Inn. Her blood is said to have dripped onto the stonework, hence their name, and although the steps have long been replaced, they are still given their eerie title today. It is reported that on occasions blood has been seen oozing from the famous steps.
Three of the four boatmen that had been taking Christina to London, were subsequently charged with her murder. Two of them hung, Capt. Owen and George Thomas, the third, William Ellis was transported. The fourth member of the crew, a young teenage boy named Musson, was cleared and released.
Christina’s body is buried in St.Augustines Churchyard. The gravestone is engraved “To the memory of Christina Collins, Wife of Robert Collins, London, who, having Been Barbarously treated was found dead in the Canal in this parish on June 17th 1839, age 37yrs. This stone is erected by some individuals of the parish of Rugeley in communication of the end of the unhappy woman”.
A few years ago, an Inspector Morse drama, starring John Thaw, – ‘The Wench Is Dead’ was adapted from the Colin Dexter novel , and was based on the story of the Christina Collins murder.
Information by www.rugeleyonline.co.uk/people/collins.htm Thankyou.”

Text copied from Dave Hammer´s flickr accout, where you can see photos of Christina´s grave    http://www.flickr.com/photos/7706119@N04/3090720690/

Here´s a site about the historical murder that inspired the Inspector Morse novel, with lots of pictures of the actual places.

http://www.mikekemble.com/misc/morse.html

Jack the Ripper – thoughts and theories 1

It is probably the most notorious unsolved case in the history of crime. Who was the serial killer who killed and mutilated prostitutes in the East End of London in the “Autumn of Terror” 1888?

There are many theories about, and basically, the only thing that is known for certain is that we know almost nothing. We can´t even be certain about the exact number of victims: although the most wide accepted consensus is that he killed five women, some count only four, others add other cases to a number of eight.

For information on this case, I am taking the easy way and just refer anyone interested to: http://www.casebook.org/intro.html.

So… trying to work out who the Ripper might have been… where to start?

Let´s take a look at the timeline and the overall attention that the case drew in its time.

The murders

http://www.casebook.org/timeline.html

The earliest murder ascribed to the Ripper occured in August 1888 (Martha Tabram). There were two murders in August, two in September, none in the five weeks after the “double event” on September 30, and one in early November. This, the murder of Mary Jane Kelly, is generally considered the final Ripper murder.

Further, there was one more murder in December 1888 (Rose Mylett), one in July 1889 (Alice McKenzie), one in 1891 (Frances Coles) that at some point have been considered possible Ripper murders.

The impact

The impact the Ripper case had on the public at the time sets the background against which the police investigation took place.

“Jack the Ripper … was not the first serial killer, but he was probably the first to appear in a large metropolis at a time when the general populace had become literate and the press was a force for social change. The Ripper also appeared when there were tremendous political turmoil and both the liberals and social reformers, as well as the Irish Home rule partisans tried to use the crimes for their own ends. Every day the activities of the Ripper were chronicled in the newspapers as were the results of the inquiries and the actions taken by the police. Even the feelings of the people living in the East End, and the editorials that attacked the various establishments of Society appeared each day for both the people of London and the whole world to read. It was the press coverage that made this series of murders a “new thing”, something that the world had never known before.” (quoted from above link, my bold). 

http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/dst-rippermania.html

LeannePerry describes in  

http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/ripperoo-terror.html

how these crimes held the East End in a grip of terror: “Over the weekend of Annie Chapman’s murder, anxious and agitated crowds, gathered outside the murder site, the mortuary, the local police station and at the ‘Ten Bells’ pub. Businesses were forced to close and thousands of people swarmed the streets. The crowds came from all over London. People were quick to capitalize on the situation and set up stalls, that did a thriving business. Residents even charged people to view the actual murder site, until they were stopped by police.

When ambulances rushed towards London Hospital, at anytime over the ‘Autumn of Terror‘, informed crowds pursued it, sensing another victim. Angry mobs called for a mans lynching, after he suddenly threw a woman to the ground and began kicking her and threatening her with a knife. The man turned out to be blind and the woman his regular escort. People “saw” the supposed killer everywherethousands of fake Jack the Ripper letters [showed up], wasting a great deal of police time… 

Police conducted house-to-house searches, ten thousand handbills were distributed and more police were drafted to the area, (including plain-clothed detectives).”

Lisa Johnstone concentrates on the treatment of the case in the press in

http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/rippercussions.html.

“The killer – nameless, faceless, seemingly motiveless – defied all attempts at being put into an understandable order, and this lack of a comprehensible and complete story (‘Something terrible’s happened! … Oh, but it’s over now.’) gave the public no way of thinking clearly about their fears; the Ripper became the boogeyman, so elusive, so mysterious, so alien that he could hardly be seen as human. …”

” The now infamous ‘Dear Boss’ letter was posted to the Central News Agency, and although it wasn’t the first Ripper letter – and certainly wouldn’t be the last – it and its ‘brother’, a postcard received on 1st October, are the most well known and are considered to possibly be from the actual killer. Whether they were or not was irrelevant to the press, who, under the pretence that publishing the letters would cause members of the public to recognise the handwriting, ran several stories on these letters. This was more than enough to spark widespread public reaction, although it wasn’t the reaction the police had hoped for…” (referring to the thousands of fake letters that followed).

“… the xenophobic feel that infused the entire case: the suspicion of Jews – the first major suspect being Jewish John Pizer, known as ‘Leather Apron’ – the supposed anti-Semitic Ripper graffiti ‘The Juwes are not the men who will not be blamed for nothing’, the fact that Mary Kelly, the last victim, was Irish, and so on. Victorian Londoners had become increasingly disturbed by the influx of foreign immigrants into the city, partly in light of recent ‘international terrorism’  and partly due to the inherent xenophobia that the English seem to possess. Londoners were desperate to believe that the killer was not English, as only a less-civilised foreigner could commit such awful acts… ”

“Meanwhile, the papers showed a rise in ‘suspicious incidents’ – possible Ripper-related attacks, since any man who now harassed a woman on the street could be Jack himself -… Yet reports of ‘economic’ related crimes – i.e. burglary, mugging, etc. – went up during the Ripper murders. The East End News reported that while the police had been occupied with the killing at Mitre Square, ‘the Aldgate post office was entered and ransacked […] under the very noses of the “guardians of peace and order.”‘ Much of the blame was thrown at the police, from members of the press and general public; on 10th November, the Star published an article citing Sir Charles Warren, police commissioner as ‘clumsy, wilful’ and ‘ignorant’, while many letters to editors suggested more effective methods of police organisation, such as a policeman dressing up as a female prostitute to lure the Ripper or, more sensibly, that a policeman remain on one beat, getting to know that area of the city well, as a ‘policeman who knows his beat […] is worth three who do not’.… The reaction of the general public was to either form voluntary groups who patrolled Whitechapel on the lookout for suspicious men, or to form lynch mobs who would pursue any male with the cry of ‘Jack the Ripper!’

During the “autumn of terror”, the East End was a dangerous powder keg. People were scared almost to a point of hysteria. A militia had formed. There was a considerable risk of lynchings and riots breaking out (which was one of the reasons why the Goulton Street graffiti blaming the “Jewes” was erased even before it could be photographed and established for certain whether it had anything to do with the Ripper).

 The police was under heavy scrutiny and criticism.

In this situation, it would have been in their own best interest to let the public know as soon as they could that a) the danger posed by the Ripper was no more and that b) the credit for this belonged to them, that they had done a good job in protecting the public. But did they? And if not, why?

After all, several members of the police force claimed, later on, that police had indeed known who the Ripper was and had been certain that after the last murder definitely ascribed to him (Kelly) he would not return and start another killing spree. Yet, if that is true, it seems they allowed the public to live with this fear.

Brian W. Schoeneman writes in:

http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/schoeneman-crisis.html

“After the death of Mary Jane Kelly, over the next two years there were at least three similar killings: Rose Mylett, Alice MacKenzie, and Frances Coles. While these killings were similar to the Ripper murders, they took place over a wider time period, did not display the same ferocity as the previous murders and the public did not receive them with the same fear and panic as they did the canonical killings.”

As Schoenemann lays out, there were two rival policing agencies involved in the Whitechapel murder investigations:  the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police force. The latter was – and still is – responsible for the one square mile zone that made up London City proper, which was a separate political entity, with its own figurehead – the Lord Mayor – and city council. …  The bulk of the canonical murders took place within the jurisdiction of the Met – only Catharine Eddowes was killed inside the jurisidiction of the City. In the eyes of the public and the press, the Met alone was responsible for the Ripper’s successful apprehension.

The Metropolitan Police, at the time of the Ripper murders, consisted of 22 divisions. “A Superintendent led each division, who, in turn, supervised a number of inspectors and sergeants. The inspectors and sergeants were responsible for the individual Police Constables who walked the beat. By 1888, the Metropolitan Police numbered a total of 14,106 officers, not including the senior administrators.17 The two divisions that responded to the Whitechapel killings – Division H (Whitechapel) and Division J (Bethnal Green) – numbered 548 and 617 officers, respectively.”

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) was made up of plainclothes detectives and inspectors, and had a troubled history. It was consistently undermanned – 15 men in a force of over 8000 in 1868 – and was constantly embroiled in controversy and, near its end, in allegations of misconduct. The CID played the lead role in the investigations of the Ripper murders. 

The highest-ranking officers of the Metropolitan Police were at odds with each other, and during the Whitechapel murders – when they should have been united in the resolve to catch the Ripper, and appear united to the press – they were engaged in near constant bickering. In the end, the two most important leadership positions within the Met – the Chief Commission, and the head of the CID – were vacated during the Ripper crisis. This was due in small part to the failure to catch the murderer, but primarily because of personality conflicts. …

Both the rivalry between City and Met Police and the top ranking officers would provide just the more reason to publically announce that the Ripper was gone as soon as that could be done and take the credit for it.

Yet the case was allowed to gradually fade from attention. There was no large-scale announcement that the Ripper was gone, people were safe now, police was not as goofy as they had been thought to be. The risk was taken that panic would break out anew in the East End, which could be caused by any murder similar enough to give the public the impression that the Ripper was back. Now, why would police let that happen? Perhaps simply because they did not have a clue who the Ripper was, and so could neither be certain that he wouldn´t return, nor would they want to draw attention to the fact.

“As suddenly as the killings had begun, they stopped. Though there were a number of similar murders over the next two years, none were conclusively linked to Ripper, and none were treated the same way by the press, police and public. London and the East End had adapted to the fear. There were no further Ripper style killings after 1891. The crisis had resolved itself – though not through the actions of the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office or the public. The Ripper resolved the crisis for them. He simply stopped killing.”

But on the other hand, we do have statements of several members of the police force that the police did indeed know who the Ripper was, giving different reasons just why there had not been an arrest and the killings had stopped.

Let´s take a look at them in the next post, and see how credible these theories are, considering that they must provide a plausible reason why the police did not make any public statement.

The Strange Case of Kyron Horman

I first took notice of the Kyron Horman case in Eyes for Lies´ blog, when she was commenting one June 11 about the first press conferences on this little boy´s disappearance and the odd behaviour and body-language of the step-mother, Terri Horman.

http://blog.eyesforlies.com/2010/06/kyron-hormans-parents-acting-odd.html

At this point, Kyron had been missing for a week. The 7 year old was last accounted on Friday morning for when Terri left him at his elementary school after having visited the school´s science fair. Later that day, his father, Kaine, Terri and little sister Kiara went to pick him up from the bus to go for an ice cream to celebrate/reward Kyron´s science fair project but he did not turn up. The family checked with the school, and it turned out that Kyron had left before classes started to take another look at “the cool electric project” and had not been seen since. They called Kyron´s biological mother, Desiree, with whom Kyron was supposed to spend the upcoming weekend. He was not with her, either.

At this point, as tragic as it is, it was basically just another disappearance.

Soon, observers noticed some odd behaviour especially in the case of Terri, who continued posting on her facebook account in a nonchalant way about “hitting the gym” as if nothing had happened. Eyes for Lied noted her unusual body language during the first press conference.

“As the interview progresses, look at the way that Terri buries her head into Desiree shoulder in the middle of Tony Young (the stepfather’s) speech. It’s as if she’s almost wanting to hide or recluse when Tony speaks. You know when little kids get embarrassed, they do this behavior. Why does Terri want to hide? It’s very notable.

When I look at Terri to discern her personality, I question if she is super shy, but I don’t get a feeling she is. We know for a fact that she helps out at Kyron’s school, which confirms she is not the reclusive type. Furthermore, when she walked out of the gym this week and avoided the media, her body language did not support she was a shy, reclusive run-away type of a woman. So what is causing her to want to recluse here? It’s intense. Terri appears very needy, too, as she keeps gravitating to everyone around her.

At one point, it even looks like Terri she can’t cope anymore. Her body language conveys the message of “I can’t take it anymore” (around 1:22). She lifts her hand towards her chest. Watch her react when Tony says, “…the community as a whole has shown how much impact one little boy’s smile can have on a community.”

Also at the very beginning of the tape when Tony starts speaking, Terri turns her head away from Tony sharply–as if to get away from what he is saying.

Watch how Terri looks up at Desiree while she has her arms around Desiree– right before Kaine speaks. Its very odd. It’s like she is hanging on Desiree for support and approval. Its like she is trying to comfort herself here instead of Desiree. Isn’t that odd? Notice how Desiree doesn’t reciprocate the embrace?

When Kaine starts speaking, watch Terri rub her arm –a gesture to comfort herself. She does this a couple of times. Terri also takes deep breaths and is doing all she can just to stand there. Her arms are pressed tight on her body in a very closed off manner.

Both Terri and Kaine are exceptionally nervous. Watch Kaine’s hands tremble as he holds the paper from which he reads. Why on earth would they be nervous? I could understand talking to the media will make anyone nervous, but the nervousness that both Terri and Kaine are feeling far exceeds what everyone else in this press conference are displaying. That is notable. Kaine may be picking up on Terri’s nerves. That is possible.

At this point, all signs are pointing that fact that Terri likely knows something, maybe even Kaine, that they are not sharing… They have definitely raised my eyebrows… I wish I could ask them direct questions. That would give me an immediate answer. I am highly suspicious of Terri right now, that is for sure.”

http://blog.eyesforlies.com/2010/06/kyron-hormans-father-speaks-out.html

A week later, while police were still adamant about Terri not being a suspect/POI, it was obvious that they were taking a close look at her. Flyers were handed out to every family who had a child at Kyron´s school asking whether the boy, his step-mom and her truck had been seen that day. It also transpired that Terri´s cell phone pings apparently did not match her accounts of where she had been after dropping Kyron off at school that morning.

Both Kyron´s parents and their spouses had taken a polygraph test soon after his disappearance, and it seems that Terri was the only one who had to take a second one (and, as it transpired later, had walked out on a third one). From the reports about this case, it seems that she had been evasise about certain questions about her “lifestyle”. Rumors and speculations were circulating about what that could mean and the Hormans – or Terri at least – were said to be connected with Portland´s swinger scene.

Around that time, it was briefly reported – but quickly taken down and disclaimed – that Kyron´s body had been found by divers on nearby Sauvie island (where  Terri´s cell phone was said to have been traced).

Until that time, everything seemed a regular missing person case. The parents and step-parents presented a united front, asking for help and cooperating with LE to get their boy back.

And then, things started getting crazy.

One June 17, Kaine Horman´s brother was sentenced and incarcerated for child molestation. As blinkoncrime.com reports, he had been arrested in January 2009, and although his trial was delayed due to several continuances, there appears to be multiple arrests on his record, some of which are unaccessible to the public.

Speaking of January, around this time, Terri Horman´s son from her first marriage – James – who had been living with the Hormans for the past 5 years, moved in with his grandparents and is now living with his biological father. It seems the teenager didn´t get along with Kaine any more.

And then, it was reported in the media on Monday, June 28, that Kaine Horman had taken the baby, Kiara, moved out of the mutual residence and not only filed for divorce but also asked for a restraining order preventing Terri to come close to him as well as the children involved. Terri, at that point, claimed this was merely a rumor and everything was fine. That same day, however, Kaine, his ex-wife Desiree and her husband, Tony, released and official statement in which they distanced themselves from Terri. The restraining order was sealed by the court (and later unsealed again) because it contained information pertaining to the ongoing investigation in Kyron´s disappearance.

Two days later, Terri Horman had retained a lawyer. Not a family lawyer, as could be expected in the face of the divorce and custody battle, but a criminal lawyer; a renowned defense attorney.

It transpired that some time the week before, Kaine Horman was informed by LE that his wife had not only hired a landscape gardener without his knowledge, and had either had or promised the man an affair with him – she had also tried to hire him to murder her husband.

On the Saturday that Kaine moved out, two 911 calls were made from the Horman residence. It seems that Kaine had been absent all day to allow LE to have the landscaper and an undercover LE agent confront Terri and try to get her to reveal something which would allow for an arrest. The sting failed, however, when Terri simply called 911 on the agents. Police was now forced to inform Terri that she is a suspect (which explains her hiring the defense attorney a few days later). The second 911 call, described as “custody matters, resolved over the phone” must have been when she realized that Kaine would not come back and had taken Kiara, and LE probably told her that he had done so on their advice.

By the end of that week, Kaine, Desiree and Tony had given a strange press conference excluding two major local papers. They confirmed their belief that Kyron is still alive, implored Terri to cooperate with LE and announced their intention to hold regular press conferences from now on.

http://blog.eyesforlies.com/2010/07/horman-press-conference-strange.html

At the same time, the website “Bring Kyron Home”  that had been made by friends of the Hormans was taken down – among those friends was one Michael Cook, who was a regular visitor to the Hormans house after Kyron´s disappearance, bringing them groceries and stuff while they were besieged by the media. He kept visiting even after Kaine had moved out.

The restraining order was unsealed after one of the two papers initially excluded from the press conference (but later readmitted) ran the story about the murder for hire plot, and soon after, it transpired what was behind the two 911 calls. Kaine and Desiree now openly accused Terri of being involved with Kyron´s disappearance, lying and not really working with LE.

Kaine asked Terri to move out of their mutual house so Kyron would have his familiar environment to come home to. Terri did not dispute this, or the divorce and custody papers.

Kaine also petitioned to have Terri held in contempt of court because she had not only shown the sealed restraining order to Michael Cook in spite of not being allowed to do so. She had also allowed Cook to take pictures of the document with his cell phone, including Kaine´s and Kiara´s current address, which he then checked out on Google Maps. He had also shared information from the sealed RO with at least two (as yet unnamed) people.

Terri also had begun a sexual relationship with Michael Cook only a few days after Kaine had moved out. They had exchanged hundreds of sexual text messages,  as well as several photographs of Terri Horman “in various stages of undress and graphic sexual activity.” Cook says they did not sleep together, though.

It was also said that Terri’s “sexual overtures to Mr. Cook resemble those made to the man she attempted to hire to murder Kaine,” which supports the landscaper´s story.

In addition, a clerk at a gym frequented by the Horman’s said Terri came there on about June 28, before the restraining order was delivered to her, and asked when Kaine was there working out, with baby Kiara in the gym´s daycare centre, and to let her know the next time he appeared. The clerk told the manager what happened and the manager then contacted police.

http://www.kgw.com/home/Court-doc-Kaine-Terri-Horman-kyron-horman-contempt-sexting-98270654.html

All the while, Terri has refused to speak to the media, but comments have been left under several aliases on the sites of various newspapers reporting about the case which are generally suspected – and, in at least one case, have actually been confirmed – to be hers.

From some of these comments, if they are indeed hers, it transpires that Terri blamed and resented Kaine for not getting along with her son, James, eventually causing him to move out, while she felt that she had made both an effort and personal sacrifices to raise and get along with his son, Kyron. She also accuses him of having an affair and ridicules both LE for not solving the case yet, and Desiree for playing the worried mom now after not having been there for Kyron (i.e. not having him live with her) before. Overall, it fits into the picture.

One new revelation after the other, apart from the one that would be most important: Where is Kyron, and what has happened to him?

Update June 15:

While Terri apparently did not refuse to move out of the house, she has asked Kaine for money to do so through her attorney. Kaine’s attorney, Laura Rackner, said her client is not willing to hand over money to Terri.
“He would like some cooperation from her first,” she said. “He would like to know where his son is.”
Kaine Horman at this point states that although Terri had suffered from post partum depression after the birth of Kiara, and the marriage became difficult at that time, he had though things were fine again and had not been aware that it was actually that bad.

Desiree, Tony and Kaine now openly accuse Terri of being in some way responsible for Kyron´s disappearance.Desiree in particular no longer minces words. She openly accuses Terri of having a history of lying (in little things), of having planned the disappearance and states that she immediately had a bad gut feeling about her when getting the call from school. But at the same time, there seems to be a rift developing between her/Tony and Kaine.

And as for Michael Cook – there´s more to him than just a friendly neighborhood guy who wanted to help a former schoolmate and got sucked in, too:  Unrelated to Kyron´s disappearance, his ex-wife Shannon, who is now professionally trying to help women get out of “toxic relationships”,  had told the story of her marriage on her website, mentioning that her ex-husband drank excessively, used drugs, engaged in “multiple sexual encounters with friends, colleagues, clients, and strangers, hiding large sums of cash from me, and compulsively lying about all of it on a daily basis. …  Though I still lived there, my husband began bringing his current mistress home, even when my son was there asleep.” (taken down now, but quoted in the comments on the case on blinkoncrime.com).

Another new information is the confirmation that the landscaper – whose name is now given as Rudy – indeed knew Kyron. Phew. What next?

Update July 27:

LE has searched the area again, including Skyline Elementary school, but nothing of the outcome of these searches is known.

Terri Horman has left the mutual house and moved in with her parents for the time being. Her son James, who (as it turned out) was still living with his grandparents, has now moved to his biological father who lives nearby. As an agreement was found between both parties´ attorneys, the court hearings were canceled – it seems Terri goes to some length to avoid appearing in court and on official court record for the time being. To this day, Terri has made no attempt to legally fight the divorce and restraining order that keeps her from seeing Kiara that we know of.

Kaine´s attorney has now put in a motion for disclosure just where the six figure sum needed to retain a renowned criminal defense attorney like Houze comes from, and if it comes from marital funds, Kaine wants half of it to pay his own attorney.

One of the persons suspected to be Terri on the internet has claimed that the murder plot was a lie fabricated by the landscaper in retribution for a 911 call made in March that involved him. It seems the 911 call from the Horman house has been confirmed. On the other hand, according to LE, the avances made towards Michael Cook are “of the same kind as those made towards the landscaper” which lends credibility to his story, too.

While on the 22nd, LE still said that Terri “has cooperated and agreed to all requests so far from investigators”, only a day later, they issued a statement that Terri “has been cooperative at times, but at other times, she hasn´t.”  

And then, new players entered the scene: It was reported that LE had taken a closer look at, and increased pressure on, a small circle of friends surrounding Terri Horman. Condos were searched, third parties interviewed. Only one of these friends has been named so far: DeDe Spicher, a workout buddy of Terri´s, who had been doing gardening work in  the vicinity the morning Kyron disappeared. Around 11 am, she got a call on her cell phone and then disappeared until ca. 1pm, not being able to be reached by phone. Kaine, Desiree and Tony issued a statement saying that DeDe “has been providing Terri with support and advice that is not in the best interests of our son. Additional information provided shows that she is refusing to cooperate with law enforcement, she is also going as far as to suggest to others that may have information regarding Kyron’s disappearance, not to cooperate as well.”

As of today, a grand jury is in session. It is still not known exactly what they are deliberating about, whether they are hearing evidence concerning Kyron´s disappearance or the murder for hire plot, but DeDe has been subpoenaed to testify. According to blinkoncrime.com, an indictment against at least one person is to be expected. A press conference has been announced for 2pm PST.

Update May 16,2011:

It is now almost a year and Kyron still has not been found, nor has it been discovered what happened to him. 

Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton said in September 2010  there had been “significant movements” in the 15-week investigation and there was a more defined scope, allowing them to not be as broad in their efforts. Investigators can now concentrate on their current course to support a theory of what happened to the boy. When asked if people would be shocked to find out what they know, Staton took a long silence.

“I know I’m taking a long pause on that, I have to think through that answer. I think there are things that come out of this investigation that will surprise you, that you’ll think about later on when it’s over. We have a knowledge of things we don’t want to know about … of things we wish we didn’t know,” he added.

But even though he said he had seen no evidence that indicated Kyron was not alive, search teams were obviously (but unsuccessfully) looking for a body in early January.

In November, Desiree Young announced that e-mails and text messages expressing hatred for Kyron suggest the boy’s stepmother “could have hurt him in the worst possible way”. Before police shared the messages with her on Friday, Desiree would only say that she believed her ex-husband’s wife, Terri Horman, was withholding information about the disappearance. But now she is convinced more than ever that Terri Horman was involved and holds the key to solving the mystery. “It’s very clear from Terri’s horrible words that she had a severe hatred for Kyron. …  She blamed a lot of the marital problems between Kaine and herself on Kyron; it was a huge point of contention in their marriage. She had expressed in great detail her hatred of Kyron.”

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/40192620/ns/today-today_people/t/kyrons-biological-parents-have-harsh-words-stepmother/

I´ll keep this updated.

Joran van der Sloot confesses to murder

Wow.  I just checked Eyes for Lies´ blog again after a long absence and learned that Joran van der Sloot has made the news again.

Joran van der Sloot is a young Dutchman who lived in Aruba in 2005 when American student, Natalee Holloway vanished on a class trip. Joran was around 18 at the time, the son of a prominent lawyer and an art teacher.

Natalee Holloway had been scheduled to fly home later on May 30, but failed to appear for her flight] She was last seen by her classmates outside a Caribbean chain restaurant and nightclub in a car with locals Joran van der Sloot and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe. When questioned, the three men said they dropped her off at her hotel and denied knowing what became of Holloway.  Upon further investigation by authorities, Van der Sloot was arrested twice on suspicion of involvement in her disappearance and the Kalpoes were each arrested three times. Due to lack of evidence the three men were released without charge after each arrest.

With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Aruban investigators conducted an extensive search for Holloway. In addition to the ground search, divers examined the ocean floor for evidence of Natalee’s body. The searches were unsuccessful, and according to Aruban authorities she is most likely dead. On December 18, 2007, Aruban prosecutors announced that the case would be closed without any charges sought against the former suspects.

On January 31, 2008, Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries claimed that he had solved the Holloway case and that he would tell all on a special television program on Dutch TV on February 3.  On February 1, the Aruba prosecutor’s office announced the reopening of the case, but eventually, nothing came of it.

The broadcast aired February 3, 2008, and included excerpts from footage recorded from hidden cameras and microphones in the vehicle of Patrick van der Eem, a Dutch businessman and ex-con, who had gained Van der Sloot’s confidence. Van der Sloot was seen smoking marijuana and stating that he was with Holloway when she began convulsively shaking, then became unresponsive. Van der Sloot stated that he attempted to revive her, without success. He said that he called a friend, who told Van der Sloot to go home and who disposed of the body.

An account of events that I consider rather likely to be true, or at least close to the thruth, though the “friend” might have been his father (who, according to one of the Kalpoe brothers, had advised that without a body, the police would have no case) and Joran probably slipped Natalee some date rape drug which caused her shaking and subsequent death.

An individual reputed to be this friend, identified in the broadcast as Daury, has subsequently denied Van der Sloot’s account. Also, Van der Sloot denied that what he said on the tape was true, stating that he was under the influence of marijuana at the time and was telling the guy what he believed he wanted to hear. Van der Sloot indicated that he still maintains that he left Holloway behind on the beach.

De Vries was heavily criticized for broadcasting the material, which made it harder to obtain a conviction;  had De Vries turned over the material to the authorities without broadcasting it, they would have held “all the trumps” in questioning Van der Sloot.

Van der Sloot made and retracted various different claims about the case later on. In 2008, he alleged that he sold Holloway into sexual slavery. On February 23, 2010, it was reported that Joran van der Sloot had stated in an interview (first offered to RTL Group in 2009) that he had disposed of Holloway’s body in a marsh on Aruba.

To this day, Natalee Holloway has not been found, nor is it really known what happened to her.  (Account of the case quoted, abridged, from Wikipedia).

Around March 29, 2010, Van der Sloot allegedly contacted the  legal representative of Holloway’s mother Beth Twitty, with an offer to reveal the location of her daughter’s body and the circumstances surrounding her death for an advance of US$25,000 against a total of $250,000. (Whether he was involved in Natalee´s disappearance/death or not, this pretty much constitues his total bastard status for me.) Twitty´s lawyer got the FBI involved, though, and pretended to pay Joran. In exchange, Van der Sloot told Kelly that his father buried Holloway’s remains in the foundation of a house. (That´s his … n-th version pf what happened, now?) Authorities determined that the information that he provided in return was false, because the house had not yet been built at the time of her disappearance. Van der Sloot was charged with extortion and wire fraud in the US.

On May 30, 2010, the fifth anniversary of Natalee Holloway’s disappearance, Stephany Flores Ramírez, 21, died at a Hotel in the Miraflores District of Lima, Peru. Her beaten body was found two days later by a hotel employee in room 309, which had been registered in Van der Sloot’s name. He had departed from the hotel without returning the room key and left the television blaring.

According to Peruvian investigators, Flores Ramírez suffered blunt force trauma to her head, causing a brain hemorrhage and breaking her neck. A tennis racquet, identified by the coroner as the likely homicide weapon, was recovered from the room. A hotel guest and an employee came forward to claim they saw Van der Sloot and the victim entering the hotel room together, and the police have video of the two playing cards at the same table the night before at a Casino.

Flores Ramírez´father said that police found date rape drugs in his daughter’s car, parked about 50 blocks from the hotel where she died. Her jewelry, money, ID and credit cards were missing.

Peruvian officials named Van der Sloot as the lone suspect in the homicide investigation.  Interpol issued an international arrest warrant. He was arrested near Curacaví by the Investigations Police of Chile on June 3. He was found with a laptop, foreign currency, a business card case, detailed charts of ocean currents around Lima, and bloody clothes.  He told Chilean police that unidentified robbers hid in the hotel room and killed Flores Ramírez. His Dutch attorney claimed that Van der Sloot was on his way to Santiago to turn himself in. He was subsequently handed over to Peruvian authorities. The stains on Van der Sloot’s clothes turned out to match the blood type of Flores Ramírez.

On June 7, 2010, Van der Sloot confessed to killing Flores Ramírez. His confession was remarkably complete and corroborated by evidence. Van der Sloot recounted that he briefly left the hotel to get some coffee and bread, and returned to find Flores Ramírez using his laptop computer without his permission. A police source stated that she may have found information linking him to the disappearance of Holloway. An altercation began and she attempted to escape. Van der Sloot stated, “I did not want to do it. The girl intruded into my private life . . . she didn’t have any right. I went to her and I hit her. She was scared, we argued and she tried to escape. I grabbed her by the neck and hit her.  Van der Sloot stated that he was intoxicated with marijuana at the time. A detective linked to the case said that Van der Sloot considered getting rid of the body in a suitcase,  but decided against it because he would have been stopped at the front desk. He then drank espresso and took amphetamines to counter fatigue before fleeing.

Criminal police chief Cesar Guardia said Van der Sloot “let slip that he knew the place” where Holloway’s body is buried. Guardia stated that the interrogation was limited to their case in Peru, which he considered “practically closed,” and that questions about Holloway’s disappearance were avoided. Guardia said that the motive for the crime was robbery. Later, Van der Sloot offered to disclose the location of Holloway’s body in exchange for transfer to an Aruban prison because he fears for his safety in Miguel Castro Castro prison. Peruvian president Alan García Pérez said that Van der Sloot would have to stand trial for the homicide before any extradition request would be considered. He also stated that Van der Sloot will serve his prison sentence in Peru. There is no treaty for the transfer of prisoners between Peru and the Netherlands. (Account quoted, abridged, from Wikipedia).

Dave Holloway, Natalee Holloway’s father, told ABC’s “Good Morning America”  that he hoped van der Sloot would reveal what happened to his daughter and said search teams were standing by to look for her body. “He’s confessed to this one,” Holloway said of Flores’ death, “and I’d like for him to tell everyone what happened.”

“I would just like to say that, you know, all the pain and suffering that we’ve gone through, hopefully justice is served this time,” he added, speaking to the show by telephone. “We’re hoping this is the end of the line for him.”

Holloway described the Flores murder as being like “deja vu.” (quoted from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37542848/ns/world_news-americas/)

Reading this, I felt I had a “deja vu” as well, only of a different kind. The case reminds me a bit of O.J. Simpson´s story – the man who walked free since he couldn´t be convicted for murder, apparently felt he could get away with anything after that and ended up committing another crime that got him into prison after all. Sometimes, karma is a bitch, eh?

Published in: on June 14, 2010 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  

How not to rob a bank

Two would-be robbers called a bank ahead and demanded that the cash be ready for them when they arrived, Connecticut officials said, giving police ample time to get to the scene.

 The pair called the People’s United Bank branch in Fairfield, Connecticut, threatening to create a “blood bath” if there was not a bag of money waiting for them when they arrived.

But they were intercepted by police, who were already waiting on the scene when the young men arrived.

Police arrested 27-year-old Albert Bailey and an unidentified 16-year-old boy on robbery charges on Tuesday afternoon.

Sgt James Perez said the two Bridgeport residents turned up at the bank about 10 minutes after making the call and were met by police in the bank’s car park.

Sgt Perez told the Connecticut Post that, in his opinion, the suspects were “not too bright”.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” he told the newspaper. “They literally called the bank and said to have the bag of money ready on the floor because they’re coming to rob the place.”

It is not clear whether Mr Bailey and the teen have lawyers.

– from today´s Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk)

Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 9:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Italian Murder Mystery

I heard about an intriguing murder case in Italy in the news last night. A bizarre discovery was made by firefighters in July 2007 who had been called to a blaze in waste ground, close to a cycle path, in the Magliana suburb of southern Rome. Police who were called to the scene found a skeleton and alongside it a wallet and keys belonging to pensioner Libero Ricci, 77, who lived nearby and who disappeared in November 2003. Initially police believed that he had been the victim of a mugging and that his body had then been burnt but the investigation took a surprise twist when Ricci’s relatives said clothes found near the body were not his. The remains were examined again by pathologists at Rome’s La Sapienza University who established that the bones were not the missing man. Forensic scientists established that the skeleton was not the remains of one person, but was made up from the bones of three women and two men, all aged between 25 and 55 years old, and who died over a 20 year period from the mid 1980s until 2006. DNA from the woman’s skull was compatible with someone related to Ricci. A closer examination of the woman’s skull showed she did not have good dental hygiene and had probably never been to a dentist. Injuries were found on the woman’s skull but because the skull was in such a poor condition it is not clear if they were caused by foul play, the fire or by an animal uncovering the remains.

Rizzi, of the murder section of the Rome Flying Squad, said:”The skull is the only item with an apparent injury but it’s not clear how it was caused. “The other bones do not have injuries but bear in mind we do not have the full body so we don’t know what happened – the skeleton is made up of five different people”. The bones were made up as follows: a woman aged 45-55, who died between 2002 and 2006, a woman aged 20-35, who died between 1992 and 1998 and a female aged 35-45 and who died between 1995 and 2000. The first man is aged 40-50 and died between 2002 and 2006 and the second is aged 25-40 and died between 1986 to 1989. ”It’s possible that the bones were gathered by a collector who killed the five people to make up the full skeleton but at this moment we just don’t know – the only fact we know for certain is that the bones are not that of Libero Ricci.”

(quoted from: http://uk.news.yahoo.com/5/20100212/twl-murder-hunt-after-five-body-skeleton-3fd0ae9.html and http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1250262/Murder-riddle-perfect-skeleton-bones-FIVE-different-people.html#ixzz0fQGg2sUg)

Wow. Those five people died at different times, so whoever did this must either have had a long term plan, collecting parts (and, possibly, killing people) for two decades or must have gotten the parts from a graveyard. But then, why not take an entire skeleton? If I were police in this case, I´d check people working in hospitals where amputated limbs are incinerated, and in funeral parlours offering cremation. I suppose a clever perp would be able to sneak out a limb here and there from both places. As the police will be looking for missing people, they probably won´t check those that are not missing but are known to be long dead and buried (at least in parts). But why would someone “fake” a skeleton this way? Or was it all just a sick joke, as someone commented on the Daily Mail article: “This may not be about murder at all. These bones could have been stolen from a medical school or other bone collections. These collections are not well guarded and medical students routinely have unsupervised time with the bones.”

Published in: on February 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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