Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Crimes of Bela Kiss

Reservoir of Rage

Dr. Charles Nagy, Detective Chief of the Budapest Police, received an alarming call in July of 1916 from a landlord in Cinkota who believed that he had discovered the evidence of a murder on his property.

The landlord explained that a soldier named Bela Kiss had rented the house he owned on Kossuth Street, but had let the lease lapse and was rumored to be a prisoner of war or possibly even killed in battle. The landlord had gone to the house to see what repairs were needed before he put the house up for rent again.

Outside the house, he found several large metal drums. When he punctured one of the drums, a nauseating smell overwhelmed him. The chemist next door told him that it was the unmistakable smell of human decomposition. The landlord begged Dr. Nagy to urgently investigate. He could not rent out the house again until this matter was resolved.

Bela Kiss's home (left)
Bela Kiss's home (left)

Nagy grabbed two of his best detectives and sped to the quiet little town of Cinkota. When they reached the house on Kossuth Street, the landlord rushed to greet them. However, the aged Mrs. Jakubec, who had promised to safeguard the belongings of her employer, was furious and shouted at the policemen to leave her master's property alone.

Nagy had one of the metal drums opened and confirmed the landlord's worst suspicions. Inside was a sack and the preserved body of a young woman with a full head of long dark-brown hair. Also inside the metal drum was the rope with which she had been strangled. The wood alcohol in the drum was the preservative.

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