Case of the Month: a look at Northeast Ohio

Cold Cases Photo Art AdSCase of the Month: a look at Northeast Ohio shows us how many cases we still need to solve. From Marilyn Sheppard to Anita Pratt, the list is endless.

In May 2015, James Renner published 50 of Northeast Ohio’s most frustrating cases. The newspaper article is filled with cases that defy logic. Each has a case summary with dates, locations, and of course, the investigating authorities contact information. For this post, I took the oldest cold cases.

1: The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run a.k.a. the Cleveland Torso Murders (1935-1938)

Thirteen people were killed and all were dismembered by the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. The official number could be higher. The victims were often drifters. People without identification, people who considered expendable and are readily missed by friends and families.

Named as possible suspects were Frank Dolezal (cleared) and  Dr. Francis Sweeney. However, in the late 90s the theory of multiple killers came up as people started to doubt the autopsy interpretations and coroners’ reputations.

If you are interested in this case check the Cleveland Police Museum website. They have descriptions of the victims with photographs. Make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for the latest in this case. It refers to the book “In the wake of the Butcher” by James Jessen Badal. This book is different from others as it is based on police reports and autopsy protocols.

Badal is an assistant professor of English and Journalism at the Eastern Campus of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. He is working on a book about the 1964 cold case of Beverly Jarosz in Garfield Heights, Ohio. Her case is on my to-do list as well.

2: The cold case of Beverly Potts – Cleveland (Aug 24, 1951)

Just a few days ago, police reached out to the public asking for help. They want an anonymous caller to contact them again. This person gave tips and so far police has been able to confirm parts of the information however, the crucial part to firm up leads is still missing.

Beverly Potts went missing on August 24, 1951. She was just 10 years old. She went to Halloran Park with a friend. Her friend left early. Beverly was last seen walking toward the crossing between Linnet Avenue and West 117 around 9:30 pm. Authorities assumes that Beverly was abducted and murdered. Her body was never found.

Badal also wrote a book about this case.

3: The cold case of Charles Clark – Mentor (Dec 24, 1959)

Charles Clark was busy in the kitchen preparing Christmas dinner when someone shot him through the window. He was 35 years old, married with four children, and he was active in the Boy Scouts Club. The motive for this crime was unclear until police discovered that Charles’ wife, Lois, was unfaithful to her husband.

Lois had several affairs. One of the men was Floyd Hargrove. As Hargrove was a sharpshooter in the Air Force police zoomed in on him. He was charged with murder but acquitted in 1960.

I have not been able to find a link to a book about this case. If you know one, please contact me.

I hope that you will read the full article. If you have information in any of these Ohio cold cases please contact the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department’s Detective Bureau at 216-443-6130.

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In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and of course, often more information can be found online and in newspaper archives. The goal of these posts is to get the cases back in the spotlights, to get people talking again, and if anything to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are cold does not mean that we can forget about them.

If you have any thoughts about these cases I encourage you to post them on your own social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, etc. Every time that we mention the victim’s names online we enhance their digital footprint.

We must make sure that these victims retains a web presence if we ever wish to find answers in their cases. You can help by linking to or sharing this post.

Thank you for remembering these Northeast Ohio victims with us.