Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Robert Garrow

Two Graves

Belge and Armani decided to corroborate their client's confession. They drove up to Mineville, New York, to the area that Garrow had described during their last interview. It was near this town that Garrow said he tossed the body of Susan Petz down a mineshaft. This area was honeycombed with deserted mines leftover from an era when mineworkers dug everywhere in the hills.

The two attorneys arrived at the scene in mid-afternoon. It was late August and the weather was hot and humid. Using Garrow's instructions, they managed to get to the area he described. It was located at the base of a mountain near the entrance to an abandoned mine. They began their search on foot. For several hours they explored the hills and found nothing. They began to think they were in wrong place.

But Francis Belge managed to locate a mineshaft that looked promising. He lowered himself into the hole while Armani held onto his hand. Using a flashlight, he searched around in the cool darkness 30 thirty feet below the surface.

"Do you see anything?" Armani called down.

"Help me up Frank!" came the reply. When he came back to the surface, he told Armani he may have found Susan Petz. But he wanted to take pictures. Belge retrieved a Polaroid camera and Belge went back down into the hole. When he came back up the second time, he was sure. There was a girl's body at the bottom of the air shaft. Garrow was right; the body was where he said it was. Now, the lawyers had no doubts: Garrow was a murderer.

They discussed what to do with this information. While they sat on the edge of the mineshaft and the body of their client's victim almost within sight, Belge and Armani reached a conclusion that neither attorney was happy about: they had an obligation to protect their client. They could not reveal this information to anyone because it would represent a breach of confidentiality and a violation of the code of legal ethics. They were also bound by law not to reveal what their client had told them. They couldn't even tell the victim's family members, who by then were wracked with grief and bewilderment over their missing daughter.

The attorneys also decided that they should go to Syracuse and search for the body of Alicia Hauck. The next day, the two men were on the vast Oakwood Cemetery property in Syracuse, where Garrow said he had hidden the body of a girl he killed back in July. They already knew from newspaper reports that there was a missing 16-year-old girl in Syracuse named Alicia Hauck who vanished while she was walking home from school. Garrow said that he killed a girl fitting her description near the cemetery and hid her body behind a shed. At first they were unable to locate the remains. The attorneys returned to the jail where they had another interview with Garrow. He prepared a map to show exactly where he had placed the girl's body.

The next day, Belge returned to Oakwood Cemetery without Armani and instead took a friend. After searching through the bushes for hours, they located the remains of Alicia Hauck. Her body was in an advanced state of decomposition and partially destroyed by animal activity. According to Armani, "Her skull had been torn from her body...Belge picked up the skull...placed it above the girl's shoulders, then photographed the remains." He had altered a crime scene and tampered with evidence.

But he was still convinced that he could tell no one of what he had found.

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