APn 02/15 0937 Body Found Copyright, 1990. The Associated Press. All rights reserved. By P
APn 02/15 0937 Body Found
Copyright, 1990. The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By PAM SCHMID
Associated Press Writer
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- A mutilated body found in the Mississippi River
had been embalmed, authorities said, leading them to believe they have a
case of grave robbery and not murder on their hands.
Police Chief Bill McCutcheon said Wednesday that the mutilation of the
body of an unidentified boy apparently was part of a "religious group, a
"It's sick. You can't say it any better than that," he said. "I mean,
think about it."
Prints from the boy's foot ruled out the possibility that the body found
Tuesday was that of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, sending waves of relief
through the abducted boy's hometown of St. Joseph in central Minnesota.
Jacob disappeared last October.
A worker at a Mississippi River dam found the unclothed body Tuesday
floating near the dam, authorities said. The hands, feet and head had been
severed. McCutcheon said the feet were later found nearby.
The body was described as that of a boy between the ages of 9 and 13.
Authorities stopped treating the case as a homicide when a coroner found
embalming fluid in the body, McCutcheon said. The time and cause of death
and how long the body might have been in the river were not immediately
Investigators were consulting cult experts to determine what kinds of
groups may have performed such a ritual. "We're interested in knowing if
there was a ceremony down by the river," McCutcheon said.
They also were checking with cemeteries to see if there were unreported
Sandy Gallant, a San Francisco police officer who has studied occult
crimes in the United States, said there have been cases of grave robbery
and mutilation as part of some ritual. But she said she knows of no cases
where a body was stolen, mutilated and then discarded.
"It would make more sense if the body was found somewhere, at the center
of a ritual scene. They usually leave the body where it can be found," she
UPce 02/15 0953 Police say boy's embalmed body possibly used in occ...
Police say boy's embalmed body possibly used in occult ritual
ST. PAUL, Minn. (UPI) -- A boy's mutilated embalmed body pulled from the
Mississippi River possibly was robbed from a grave and used in an occult
ritual, police said Wednesday.
The body, which was found Tuesday, had not been identified. The head,
and both hands and feet had been removed. Both feet were found in the river
and police were searching for other body parts.
In another twist, St. Paul police Wednesday afternoon found the skeletal
remains of a second body. It was believed to be that of a 59-year-old St.
Paul woman who leaped from the Ford Parkway Bridge in December 1988, and
was unrelated to the case of the boy's body.
Police Chief William McCutcheon said the case is not a homicide.
"The body was stolen and multilated some time after he died," the chief
said. "The decapitation and removal of the extremities is a custom in some
"It's sick. I can't say anything better than that. My God, think about
McCutcheon said the body apparently was removed "from a grave or other
place of custody." There have been no reports of any grave robbing in the
Twin Cities and police said they were waiting for word from elsewhere in
McCutcheon said the body found in the river had been embalmed and there
were procedures performed by morticians visible on it.
"We don't believe the boy was from St. Paul and we don't know how long
he was in the river," he said.
"We've seen evidence of rituals in caves on the West Side --
candle-burning, certain graffiti, that sort of thing. But this is something
I've never seen.
"We're interested in knowing if there was a ceremony down by the river."
There have been at least two recent crimes in Minnesota that police
linked to occult or Satanic rituals.
John Doughty, a professed Satanist and convicted rapist, is serving 30
years in prison for kidnapping an 18-year-old woman in Minneapolis in 1988.
He tried to cut off her feet with a knife, and threatened to eat her flesh
and throw her body in the Mississippi as part of a Satanic ritual.
In March 1988, three St. Cloud teenagers were charged with murdering
Donald Gall while the group was camping along the Mississippi south of St.
Cloud. Authorities said the youths killed Gall, then licked his blood from
their hands and dumped his body in the river.
Police said they are now 100 percent sure the body found in St. Paul was
not that of Jacob Wetterling, the 11-year-old St. Joseph boy who was
kidnapped in October. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have
conducted a massive search for the Wetterling boy.
His parents, Jerry and Patty Wetterling, said they were relieved to
learn the body was not Jacob, but, they said, they wouldn't be happy until
their son returned.
The parents said it had been a rough period after hearing reports of the
boy's body being found in the river.
Patty said they didn't listen to news report and talked only with
investigators while waiting.
"I can't go up and down in listening to reports," she said. "I can't do
it that way."
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank