Cleveland Torso Murders (1 Viewer)


Let It All Bleed Out
After doing a search on GG for a similar thread I could only find one thread that is now defunct and another thread pertaining to a GG member who is writing an article on the same topic, but at another website (a good to post to check out).

I only recently came across this cold serial-killer case and went to dig up (no pun intended) what was kicking around on it. The case has pretty much remained the same, but almost always with some awful need-a-magnifying-glass to see those shitty little grainy photos, if there were any. I get wonky about that, lols.

But the other sites didn't/don't attend to the photos and images associated with this case. Just the usual post-as-they-were-found or as they were scanned out of some book. Granted, most of the photos are about 80 years old and not our digital images of today.

Black and white photos are great to work with - much easier than colour. After spending the day (today) on this serial-killer case I put some photos together that ya won't find on any other site.

Ok, with that out of the way...let's get on to this case that had Cleveland, Ohio shitting it's pants in the 1930's.


The Cleveland Torso Murderer (also known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run) was an unidentified serial killer who killed and dismembered at least 12 victims in the Cleveland, Ohio, area in the 1930s.


Let It All Bleed Out

The official number of murders credited to the Cleveland Torso Murderer is 12, although recent research has shown there may have been more. The 12 victims were killed between 1935 and 1938, but some, including lead Cleveland Detective Peter Merylo, believe that there may have been 40 or more victims in the Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Youngstown, Ohio, areas between the 1920s and 1950s. Two strong candidates for addition to the list of those killed are the unknown victim nicknamed the "Lady of the Lake," found on September 5, 1934, and Robert Robertson, found on July 22, 1950.

The victims were usually drifters whose identities were never determined, although there were several exceptions. Victims numbers 2, 3, and 8 were identified as Edward Andrassy, Flo Polillo, and possibly Rose Wallace, respectively. Invariably, all the victims, male and female, appeared to be from the lower class of society—easy prey in Depression-era Cleveland. Many were known as "working poor," who had nowhere else to live but the ramshackle shanty towns in the area known as the Cleveland Flats.

Set 1.

These 4 images of Victim #1, Edward W. Andrassy, who was found dead and dismembered on September 23, 1935, lying next to another Victim, #2, who was not identified.




4. Andrassy's death mask.



Let It All Bleed Out

The Torso Murderer always beheaded and often dismembered his victims, sometimes also cutting the torso in half; in many cases the cause of death was the decapitation itself. Most of the male victims were castrated, and some victims showed evidence of chemical treatment being applied to their bodies.

Many of the victims were found after a considerable period of time following their deaths, sometimes a year or more. This made identification nearly impossible, especially since the heads were often not found.

Set 2.

The head and body of this man was found alongside Edward Andrassy's body on Spet. 23, 1935. No further photos of this victim.



Let It All Bleed Out

During the time of the "official" murders, Eliot Ness held the position of Public Safety Director of Cleveland, a position with authority over the police department and ancillary services, including the fire department.

While Ness had little to do with the investigation, his posthumous reputation as leader of The Untouchables has made him an irresistible character in modern "torso murder" lore.

Set 3.

1. The remains of Victim #3, Florence Polillo.



4. Florence's death mask.
I love shit like this. Makes you wonder how someone could never be caught for something like this, even back then with the limited technology they had.
A lot of serial killers want the attention, and will often out themselves without realizing it.

Anyway, great set. Thanks for posting it.


Let It All Bleed Out

Possible victims

Several noncanonical victims are commonly discussed in connection with the Torso Murderer. The first was nicknamed the "Lady of the Lake" and was found near Euclid Beach on the Lake Erie shore on September 5, 1934, at virtually the same spot as canonical victim number 7. Some researchers of the Torso Murderer's victims count the "Lady of the Lake" as victim number 1, or "Victim Zero."

A headless, unidentified male was found in a boxcar in New Castle, Pennsylvania, on July 1, 1936. Three headless victims were found in boxcars near McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, on May 3, 1940. All bore similar injuries to those inflicted by the Cleveland killer. Dismembered bodies were also found in the swamps near New Castle, Pennsylvania, between the years 1921 and 1934 and between 1939 and 1942.

Set 12.

1. Site where Victim #12 (and #11) were found. Here skeletal remains are inspected.

2. Victim #12's remains. Never ID'd.


Let It All Bleed Out

On July 22, 1950, an unemployed 41-year-old named Robert Robertson was found at a business at 2138 Davenport Avenue in Cleveland. Police believed he had been dead six to eight weeks and appeared to have been intentionally decapitated. His death appeared to fit the profile of other victims: He was estranged from his family (so would not be missed), had an arrest record and a drinking problem, and was on the fringes of society.

Despite widespread newspaper coverage linking the murder to the crimes in the 1930s, detectives investigating Robertson's death treated it as an isolated crime.

Set 13.

1. Remains of Victim #13 found in the local dump. Not ID'd.


My gift to you, a Nightmare of terror
Awesome set. I have heard of this case but never this much info in one place about it, so thank you for this. I wounder if the guy just died or got to old to perform his handy work. Either way it is a good thing he stopped! There are a few serial murderer's that have gone un-caught.


Something Ironic...
I find it really sad that not only does the victim suffer the indignanty of being murdered and then dis-member-ed but they are forever forgotten and buried without their identity. We know that they had A family that missed them and that they missed also. I just think that is A very sad way to leave this Earth.


a cat is in my brain i likes it that way
fascinating...cases like these i thoroughly enjoy reading about...

i read about this years and years ago lol when i was in high school but never got so much in detail like this

makes you wonder what the killers final tally was and get into the mind of this sick motherfucker

they ought to make a movie about this bring even more attention to it who knows what new shit might pop up today

thanks for posting indeed


Let It All Bleed Out
Set 14.


Two suspects are most commonly associated with the Torso murders, although there are numerous others occasionally mentioned.

On August 24, 1939, Cleveland resident Frank Dolezal, who was arrested as a suspect in Florence Polillo's murder, died under suspicious circumstances in the Cuyahoga County jail. After his death it was discovered that he had suffered six broken ribs—injuries his friends say he did not have when arrested by Sheriff Martin L. O'Donnell some six weeks prior.

Most researchers believe that no evidence exists that Dolezal was involved in the murders, although at one time he did admit killing Flo Polillo in self-defense. Before his death, he recanted his confession and recanted two others as well, saying he had been beaten until he confessed.

Frank died after 'allegedly' committing suicide after his arrest.

1. The kitchen sink where suspect Frank Dolezal stated that he cut up Florence Polillo.

2. Suspect, Frank Dolezal, in custody.

3. Suspect, Frank Dolezal, in custody.

4. Frank's body is removed from prison after his 'apparent' suicide.


Let It All Bleed Out

Most investigators consider the last canonical murder to have been in 1938. One suspected individual was Dr. Francis E. Sweeney. Sweeney worked during World War I in a medical unit that conducted amputations in the field. Sweeney was later personally interviewed by Eliot Ness, who oversaw the official investigation into the killings in his capacity as Cleveland's Safety Director.

During this interrogation, Sweeney is said to have "failed to pass" two very early polygraph machine tests. Both tests were administered by polygraph expert Leonard Keeler, who told Ness he had his man.

After Dr. Sweeney committed himself [to hospital], there were no more leads or connections that police could assign to him as a possible suspect. The killings apparently stopped after Sweeney voluntarily entered institutionalized care shortly after the last official murders were discovered in 1938.

From his hospital confinement, Sweeney would mock and harass Ness and his family with threatening postcards into the 1950s. He died in a veterans' hospital at Dayton in 1964.

Set 15.

1. Suspect #1 - Dr. Francis E. Sweeney


Let It All Bleed Out
In 1997, another theory postulated that there may have been no single Butcher of Kingsbury Run because the murders could have been committed by different people. This was based on the assumption that the autopsy results were inconclusive. First, Cuyahoga County Coroner Arthur J. Pearce may have been inconsistent in his analysis as to whether the cuts on the bodies were expert or slapdash.

Second, his successor, Samuel Gerber, who began to enjoy press attention from his involvement in such cases as the Sam Sheppard murder trial, garnered a reputation for sensational theories. Therefore, the only thing known for certain was that all the murder victims were dismembered.

1. Coroner and investigators inspect bones found at site of a murder.

2. The Cleveland coroner examines bones found at a crime scene.

3. Another crime scene photo where Ness (man on lower right) is on hand as remains are found.


Let It All Bleed Out
In the end, there were bodies, pieces, heads, legs, bones, and ofcourse torsos.

The lead investigator, Cleveland Safety Director Elliot Ness, also well known as an American Prohibition agent (Chicago era) and as one of the original Untouchables, was never able to solve the Torso Murder case. He took to the booze, ran in to debt and after leaving the police force selling frozen hamburgers patties as his life crumbled.

He collapsed and died at his home of a massive heart attack on May 16, 1957.

1. Elliot Ness

2. Weapons seized from a suspect that was never charged.

3. Cleveland Police museum displaying items from the Torso Murders case.

4. The last bit...

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