In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders
On September 5, 1934, while walking along Lake Erie beach near his Cleveland home, Frank LaGassie made a gruesome discovery. Partially buried was the lower half of a woman’s torso, legs amputated at the knees. This Lady of the Lake, as she was dubbed by the police and the press, was the first in a terrifying series of decapitation murders that haunted Cleveland for the next few years.
From 1934 to 1938, the Torso Killer left the corpses of at least twelve victims in and around the Kingshury Run area of Cleveland. A frightened city turned to its safety director, the legendary Eliot Ness, who focused more energy and manpower on this investigation than any previous police action in Cleveland. But the killer was never arrested, or even officially identified. In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland’s Torso Murders is the first detailed, book-length examination of these horrific crimes. Where previous examinations of the Kingsbury Run murders have relied almost exclusively on contemporary newspaper coverage, this compelling account is based on police reports, autopsy protocols, personal interviews with the descendants of victims and investigators, and unpublished manuscripts.