True Crime

Amy Mihaljevic school photo, with side-saddle ponytail

Minute by Minute — Amy Mihaljevic on October 27, 1989

The day Amy was taken, Bay Village was enjoying an Indian summer. Though it was late October, a balmy breeze cut off Lake Erie. It was the last breath of summer warmth before the world fell cold again until spring. A little after 6 a.m., Amy awoke and dressed herself. Sweats again. She picked out green pants and a pale green sweatshirt with lavender trim. She brushed her hair and slipped on her favorite earrings, silhouettes of horse heads rendered in turquoise, mounted on gold studs.

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Newspaper headline: Woman Had "Mania for Collecting Insurance," Declares Ex-Husband

The Incredible Vanishing Killer – Cleveland’s “Black Widow” of 1922

Black Widow. The two words provoke several images, none of them cheery. Most people are aware, at least by repute, of the female black widow spider, notorious for occasionally dining on her male partner after mating. Some are familiar with the archetype of the female serial-killer spouse, memorably rendered in a number of films. Few Clevelanders realize, however, that almost four score years ago their city riveted the attention of the nation for almost a fortnight with sensational news of a serial husband murderess …

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Newspaper headline: Ghostly Hand Seen in Lake, Bones on Shore Disappear

Torso Prologue: The Mystery Begins

With the possible exception of the 1954 Marilyn Sheppard murder, Cleveland boasts no bigger or better “signature” crime phenomenon than the baker’s dozen of “Kingsbury Run Torso slayings” that terrified Clevelanders and puzzled lawmen during the latter part of the 1930s. It is Cleveland’s greatest and most malevolent mystery and hardly a year goes by without a renewal of media interest in this serial saga of Depression-era killings.

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Firefighers in action at the S. S. Kresge fire in Cleveland in 1908

Cleveland’s Saddest Fourth – The 1908 S. S. Kresge Fireworks Explosion

If you drive by 2025 Ontario Street today you might easily miss it. But on July 3, 1908, that address became history—terrible history. You’d never guess, to look at its modern glass-and-trim front, that it was once the scene of a fiery, exploding holocaust that brought death to seven, injury to dozens, and a day of terror, tears, heroism, and shame to the city of Cleveland. For this is the site of the S. S. Kresge fireworks explosion and fire …

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