The bodies of two individuals were found inside a pair of suitcases in the rural town of Geneva, in southeastern Wisconsin. The gruesome discovery has police trying to identify the bodies, and has left the 4,000 residents of this quiet, corn field town shaken and scared. The suitcases were discovered only a quarter mile from the police station.
The bodies were found by highway crews that were mowing down a grass choked ditch on Thursday along the roadside. The workers evidently moved them to the side of the road, but did not open them. A passing motorist then drove by, opened the suitcases, and was horrified to find bodies stuffed up inside each bag.
“It's very abnormal,” Police Chief Steven Hurley said “It's a very quiet town, a close-knit town. Everybody knows everybody else.” While Hurley would not comment on the condition of the remains or identify if the victims were male or female, he did say it appeared that each victim was killed before being shoved into the cases. Surrounded by tall grasses, it’s unclear how long the bodies may have been there.
CBS News talked with some of the residents after the news broke. Farmer Jim Daily lives only a half mile from where the suitcases were found. His road was blocked off, and police would not tell him why. He lafter learned of the grisly discovery from news outlets. The 70-year-old said: “I don't remember seeing anybody stopped or parked. We were as surprised as anybody else. It was a shock to all of us. You don't like finding corpses in your neighborhood”
Fellow resident Jessica Finster, 29, was equally shocked. Finster works at a bar about a mile away, and is concerned for her safety. “That's what scares me,” she said. “There are bodies in suitcases right down the street from where I work. It's kind of creepy. It's like ‘CSI.’ But that doesn't happen around here. I've never heard of someone in a suitcase left on the side of the road except in a fictional story.”
Chief Hurley said the suitcases were opened by 10-year veteran officer Eric Anderson of the Geneva department. Hurley described Anderson’s reactions: “I talked to him, and he said he had to step back a minute and take a deep breath and collect his thoughts, but he handled it very professionally and continued to do his job,” the chief said.
Police are interviewing neighbors but released a statement assuring residents that they are safe. According to a police statement, residents “can rest assured that this is an isolated incident and the crime did not occur where the bodies were located.”
The Chicago Tribune asks that anyone with information contact the Town of Geneva Police at 262-248-9926 or the Walworth County Crime Stoppers at 262-723-2677.