Headless Torso Found in a Cave in Idaho 40 Years Ago Confirmed to Be Missing Murderer

©Flickr,Bureau of Land Management

Now, this is the kind of true story that needs to be turned into a book or a movie ASAP.

On August 26, 1979, a family was exploring Buffalo Cave in Clark County, Idaho, expecting to uncover some arrowheads.

What they found instead buried in a shallow grave was shocking: a dismembered torso wrapped in a burlap sack.

The torso was clothed in dark pants, a pinstriped shirt, and a maroon sweater.

The identity of the body was a mystery to authorities. In 1991, a mummified hand was found in the same cave system. Later, an arm and two legs were all found wrapped in burlap as well. Because no head was found, the case remained cold, despite efforts by many organizations, including the FBI.

In 2019, authorities in Idaho reached out to the DNA Doe Network to see if the organization could help use forensic genealogy to help identify the remains. A genealogical tree was constructed and, with the use of historical records, the body was identified as a man named Joseph Henry Loveless who had escaped from jail in 1916.

Loveless was in jail for murdering his wife with an axe on May 5, 1916. He had already done time behind bars for bootlegging and had previously escaped jail by sawing through his cell’s bars. The murderer escaped again on May 18, 1916, and was never seen alive again. The “Wanted” poster for Loveless described him as wearing a red sweater and black pants, the same clothing found attached to the body in the cave.

Authorities in Clark County, Idaho, got a DNA sample from Loveless’ 87-year-old grandson in California. The sample proved that the grandson is the direct descendant of Loveless.

As for who murdered Joseph Henry Loveless after he escaped from prison, well that’s another mystery just waiting to be solved…

You can learn more about this fascinating case by reading through the official analysis HERE from Idaho State University.