Frank Dolezal the alleged Mad Butcher of Cleveland
On January 26, 1936, the dismembered body of Florence Polillo is found murdered and dismembered in Cleveland. The murder spree sparked mass panic in the city, where the unknown murderer was dubbed the "Mad Butcher." The “Mad Butcher” of Cleveland, AKA the Cleveland Torso Murderer and Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, was an unidentified male serial killer believed to have killed at least 12 victims between the depression era years of 1935 and 1938. Some believe the killer may have been operating in the area as early as the 1920s and as late as the early 1950s amassing over 40 victims.
On Sunday, January 26, 1936 butcher Charles Paige, called the police to report a murder. A person wishing to remain unidentified had told Paige there was a body of a murdered person lying against a building. Paige investigated and found severed human body parts. The coroner’s office later identified the remains as belonging to Florence Saudy Polillo, age 42. She had been arrested several times for prostitution. The coroner determined she had been dead from 2 to 4 days and dismemberment had been done with a sharp instrument just like the other two. The coroner also believed it was the work of someone who knew surgical techniques. Still nobody tied the murders together as being the work of one individual. That is until the press started a media circus with stories of a psychopathic maniac on the loose.
In June 1936, another head, and later a headless body, turned up and police were unable to identify the victim. Even when a replica mask of the victim's face, which was displayed at the Great Lakes Exposition, the victim remained a mystery, while the Mad Butcher continued killing. By the summer of 1938, with the body count into double digits, the Cleveland police were desperate to find the killer. One suspect, an actual butcher named Frank Dolezal, was interrogated for 40 straight hours until he confessed to killing Florence Polillo. However, he subsequently changed his story and then committed suicide in his jail cell. In reality, though, few authorities believed Dolezal was actually the killer. It is believed that the real suspect was relatively prominent and politically connected, and as a result the police department trumped up the case against Dolezal. All official police records of the matter have been destroyed. Ironically, the Mad Butcher's attacks stopped soon after Dolezal's suicide. The true identity of the Mad Butcher remains a mystery to this day.
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