January 01, 2020

Headless torso in Idaho cave identified as Wild West outlaw killed in 1916
A headless torso found in a remote cave in Idaho has been identified as belonging to a Wild West outlaw who died a century ago. Joseph Henry Loveless was last seen in 1916 shortly after escaping from jail, where he was being held for allegedly murdering his second wife with an axe. His remains, wrapped in hessian and buried in a shallow grave, were discovered by a family hunting for arrowheads in Buffalo Cave near Dubois, Idaho, in 1979. Twelve years later a girl exploring the same cave found his mummified hand, and other limbs were subsequently found nearby. But because his head was never located the FBI for years remained baffled as to the identity of the dead man. They could only establish that he was of European descent, had reddish brown hair, and was aged about 40. However, over time forensic genealogists from the DNA Doe Project, a group which uses DNA samples, court records and newspaper reports to identify unknown deceased people, were able to confirm that the man was Loveless. He was born to Mormon pioneers in Utah on Dec 3, 1870 and went on to abandon his first wife, Harriett Jane Savage, according to court records in Salt Lake City. Loveless then headed to Idaho and became a bootlegger, counterfeiter, and outlaw, using a series of aliases and escaping from jail several times. On one occasion he cut through prison bars with a saw he had hidden in his shoe. Another escape involved fleeing from a transport train. The outlaw remarried, to Agnes Octavia Caldwell Loveless, who was then murdered on May 5, 1916. A man named "Walt Cairns" was arrested, but the victim's family told newspapers at the time that was actually Loveless. The family predicted Loveless would escape soon because he "never stayed in jail long". He did then escape, less than two weeks later, on May 18, 1916. Clothing found with the remains in Buffalo Cave decades later was the same as depicted in a final "Wanted" poster, suggesting Loveless himself was killed and dismembered soon after his last jailbreak. Bart May, the current Sheriff of Clark County, Idaho, said a homicide investigation into who killed Loveless would remain open. He said: "We'll probably never solve the homicide, but we still encourage anyone who has heard stories to contact our office. "Back in 1916 it was the Wild West up here and, most likely, the locals took care of the problem."
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