Two bodies in suitcases were found in a ditch in southeastern Wisconsin, and now days later police said they are no closer to cracking the bizarre and gruesome case.
Highway workers discovered the bodies on Thursday while mowing a ditch in the town of Geneva, which is about 50 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Though they did not open the suitcases, a driver passing by noticed them and called police, who found two dismembered bodies in the suitcases.
The finding was especially strange for the small town of Geneva, which has just 4,000 people and little crime to speak of.
“It’s a very quiet town, a close-knit town,” said Police Chief Steven Hurley. “Everybody knows everybody else.”
Autopsies were conducted on Friday, but police have failed to identify either body found in the suitcases. Hurley noted that there are no missing persons reported in Geneva.
Residents around Geneva said they were shaken by the discovery. Jim Daily, a 70-year-old farmer who lives on the road where the suitcases were discovered, said the grass was so tall that he never noticed them. Daily added that he has no idea how long they could have been there.
“I don’t remember seeing anybody stopped or parked. We were as surprised as anybody else. It was a shock to all of us. You don’t like finding corpses in your neighborhood,” he said Friday.
Others who work in the area said they were scared to know that a murderer walked among them.
“That’s what scares me. There are bodies in suitcases right down the street from where I work,” said Jessica Finster. “It’s kind of creepy. It’s like CSI. But that doesn’t happen around here. I’ve never heard of someone in a suitcase left on the side of the road except in a fictional story.”
The road where the bodies in suitcases were found leads directly to the police station, leading some locals to think it must have been the work of an out-of-town killer.
“I can’t believe someone from our community is capable of it,” said Marti Todd, a local bartender. “It’s brazen.”
But the tiny town does have some dark connections. Lake Geneva has deep ties to the mob, once serving as a hideout for Al Capone.
The son of Chicago gangster Frank Calabrese Sr. also noted that the area was still frequented by organized crime figures as recently as the 1990s.
“My father stashed money in safe deposit boxes around town…some of the cash was stashed at the Calabrese Cottage, our summer home in Wisconsin near Lake Geneva,” Frank Calabrese Jr. wrote in his book Operation Family Secrets, published in 2011.
Police said they still have no details about the bodies in suitcases, including ages or how they died.