Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Norman Collins: The Co-Ed Killer

Just a Friend of the Family

The responding officers immediately recognized the body as human. It was nude, lying on its side, with face down. One forearm and hand, and the fingers of the other hand were missing. Both feet had been severed at the ankles, and animals bites were evident on the skin and bones. It was not clear at first whether the victim was male or female. The medical examiner, Dr. Henry Scovill, estimated that the victim had been dead approximately one month, and she was quickly identified with medical records as the missing coed. The farm was located approximately three miles from the apartment where Fleszar lived.

The autopsy found evidence that she had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest, approximately 30 times, and twenty of those punctures had been inflicted by a knife or other sharp object. The lower leg bones had been smashed just above the ankles. It also appeared that she had been brutally beaten.

Detectives who examined the crime scene said the body had been moved at least three times, possibly by animals or possibly by the killer, who apparently had returned at least once. It was first placed on top of a pile of bottles and cans in an area obscured by a clump of box elder trees. It was moved about five feet south, and probably stayed there for quite some time. Later, the body was moved three more feet, and may have been moved yet again. Clearly, whoever had been out there that day was there to see her.

A leather and plastic sandal found at the scene was identified by Fleszar's mother as belonging to her. Later, beneath some corrugated paneling, an officer turned up a pile of women's clothing, on top of which was an orange dress with white polka dots. It had been torn down the front, and both the bra and panties had been partly ripped.

The remains of Mary Fleszar were transported to a funeral home. Just before the funeral, there was a report that a young man in a bluish-gray Chevy had visited, claiming to be a friend of the family. He wanted to take a picture. When this was denied to him, he left. Only then did the personnel on site realize that he did not even have a camera. The Fleszars said they did not know who he was. No one could describe him in any helpful way, and he did not show up at the ceremony or burial, yet police suspected that this was the murderer returning for a grisly souvenir.

The next body would not be discovered for almost a year.


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