On the first day of the new year, it was reported that the bones of Joseph Henry Loveless, bootlegger and murderer, had finally been identified. In 1979 his torso was found in in a burlap sack in a cave buried in an 18 inch grave in Clark County, Idaho. In 1991, his disembodied hand and legs were found in the same area. However, the body parts were unidentified until 2019 when it was discovered they were the remains of Joseph Henry Loveless. Loveless has many aliases, including Charles Smith, Walter Currans, and Walter Cairns. However, his composite sketch, as depicted above, looks similar to an unburned version of A Nightmare on Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger.
Interestingly, Joseph Loveless had a religious upbringing as he was born in Utah in 1870 to mormon parents that followed Brigham Young to the new promised land.
Loveless himself had already fathered one daughter from a previous marriage before he met his second wife, Agnes Caldwell. After being married to Agnes for 8 years and having four children with her, Loveless brutally murdered her with an ax and was subsequently arrested on May 5th, 1916 under the name Charles Smith. Just 13 days later, Loveless escaped jail after he sawed the bars of his cell using a saw blade he had in his shoe. After he escaped, a wanted poster (pictured below) was issued with a physical description of him, but he was never seen again.
Thanks to the DNA Doe Project, a volunteer organization that seeks to identify remains using forensic genealogy, the discovery was made in late 2019. During their search for Loveless’ identity, about 32,000 people were compared to the remains over a 40 year span until a living grandson of Loveless was identified. The grandson, who is unnamed, is 87 years old, and volunteered a DNA sample after being contacted.
Overall, while the comparison to Freddy Krueger is an interesting one, the reality of Loveless’ life makes his untimely end unsurprising. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of accessible information about what happened during Loveless’ criminal career, but it appears that Agnes Caldwell was avenged.