DNA identifies Idaho killer more than 100 years after his death – Idaho Reporter

Idaho

DNA identifies Idaho killer more than 100 years after his death

CREDIT: ANTHONY REDGRAVE/COURTESY OF LEE BINGHAM REDGRAVE

Buffalo Cave near Dubois Idaho, has offered up some rather gruesome artefacts over the last 40 years. First, in 1979 a family looking for arrow heads were rewarded instead with a headless torso wrapped in hessian.

In 1991 a girl found a mummified hand and other body parts were found in the area later. The head of the body was never found, making it hard to identify the body. What investigators could tell was that the body was of European descent and about 40 years old.

The DNA Doe project sifted through more than 31,730 people for 40 years. It took more than 2000 hours of research for them to finally find a connection to the body’s DNA. It turned out to be escaped murderer, Joseph Henry Loveless who was last seen in 1916 shortly after escaping from jail where he was being held for murdering his second wife.

After the first connection was made, it was confirmed by tracking down an 87-year-old grandson of Loveless’ who turned out to be a 100% match for a grandparent / grandchild relationship

Born to Mormon pioneers in 1870, Loveless had had many encounters with the law. According to records in Salt Lake City, he abandoned his first wife, Harriett Jane Savage before becoming a bootlegger, counterfeiter and general outlaw in Idaho. He used a number of aliases and escaped from jail numerous times.

He married Agnes Octavia Caldwell Loveless, who was murdered on May 5, 1916. A man called “Walt Cairns” was arrested, but Agnes’ family identified him as Loveless to newspapers. He was charged with murdering Agnes with an axe, but the family predicted that he would soon escape, which indeed he did.

Clothes found in the cave with the remains actually match those that were shown in the wanted poster from 1916 and it appears that soon after escaping, Loveless himself was murdered and dismembered.

The current Sheriff of Clark County, Idaho, Bart May said that although they encourage anyone with information with regards to the murder of Loveless to come forward and that the investigation into the homicide would remain open, he doubted that the guilty party would be found.

“Back in 1916 it was the Wild West up here and, most likely, the locals took care of the problem.”

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