Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Kingsbury Run Murders or Cleveland Torso Murders

Ness Takes Charge

The next morning, the gruesome discovery was still the major front-page story when divers descended into the murky depths of pool, looking for the head and hands that might give some hope of identifying the young man. The number of spectators had multiplied from the day before, standing for hours watching the hunt. After two hours of high-pressure flushing by fire hoses failed to bring up any other parts of the body, Hogan called in the Coast Guards to use their special equipment to drag every inch of the rubbish-covered bottom of the pool.

Hogan was ready to kick himself for saying to a reporter that he thought the murderer lived somewhere in or around Kingsbury Run. As if the unfortunate people who lived around there didn't have enough to worry about with this "Mad Butcher" using their backyard as a cemetery. Now after reading that Hogan thought the killer lived among them, they were afraid to go outside. The population of large dogs was rising rapidly.

The following morning, an irritable Eliot Ness pulled himself away from his research into police corruption and got personally involved in the Kingsbury Run case. The timing of this latest murder was horrible. Ness had been rushing to put the finishing touches on his evidence for Frank Cullitan to effect the largest graft prosecution in the city's history. He wasn't pleased to have to interrupt this crucial work because of some crazy butcher. Unfortunately, he couldn't ignore the case any more. It had become too big to delegate to Hogan alone.

Once again, Ness went over every detail of the case, personally interviewing several of the detectives who had been working on it. Then he ordered a clean up of the section in Kingsbury Run where the bodies had been found. Every hobo in that area was brought in and questioned, warned about the killer and urged to find somewhere else to live.

Twenty detectives were permanently assigned to the case until it was solved, although with the meager clues, it wasn't at all clear what twenty full-time detectives were going to do after they interviewed all the bums in the area. But in no time, the twenty detectives had plenty to do, simply because everybody in the city seemed to have his own idea of who the killer was. Detectives were inundated with calls about the strange behavior of neighbors, relatives, and co-workers. Anybody who kept unusual hours, carried large packages out of his house, or kept a knife in his pocket was fair game, not to mention every butcher, physician, male nurse, mortician, and hunter. The worst of it all was that Eliot Ness said every tip, no matter how trivial it sounded, must be followed up. The detectives estimated it would take months, maybe years, to finish.

Following up tips was not the only thing the detectives did. They repeatedly scoured the records of the state hospital for the insane, as well as followed and watched recently discharged patients.

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