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

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senata, iStock via Getty Images

A new wrinkle has been added to a 40-year-old murder mystery. As The Guardian reports, a headless torso found in an Idaho cave in 1979 has been identified as the remains of Joseph Henry Loveless. Loveless was an escaped convict who murdered his wife in 1916, but the identity of his killer remains unknown.

The body was discovered by a family looking for arrowheads in Buffalo Cave in Clark County, Idaho, on August 26, 1979. The dismembered torso was wrapped in a burlap sack and dressed in dark pants, a pinstriped shirt, and a maroon sweater. It had been buried in a shallow grave 18 inches deep.

The case stayed cold until 1991, when a girl found a mummified hand in the same cave system. Authorities later uncovered an arm and two legs—all wrapped in burlap—in the area. Crime and anthropology experts from Idaho State University, the Smithsonian Institution, and the FBI were called to aid in the investigation, but with no head to match the body, their work sputtered.

At the end of 2019, the case saw its first major breakthrough. Earlier that year, Idaho State University and the Clark County police had reached out to the DNA Doe Project—a nonprofit that uses forensic genealogy to identify remains—for its expertise. By building a genealogical tree and digging up historical records, they were able to connect the body to Joseph Henry Loveless, a descendent of Mormon pioneers and a felon who was last seen escaping from jail in 1916.

Loveless used an ax to murder his second wife, Agnes Octavia Caldwell Loveless, on May 5, 1916. By that time, he had already been arrested twice for bootlegging and had escaped imprisonment by sawing through his jail bars. The DNA Doe Project reports [PDF] that one of Loveless's children was quoted as saying at his mother Agnes's funeral: "Papa never stayed in jail very long and he'll soon be out."

Loveless slipped out of his jail cell on May 18, 1916, and was never seen alive by authorities again. His wanted poster described him as wearing a red sweater and black trousers—the same clothing found on his body decades later. This leads investigators to believe that he died shortly after escaping jail in 1916.

Clark County authorities contacted the 87-year-old grandson of Joseph Henry Loveless, who now lives in California, and asked for a DNA sample. Their analysis confirmed that the grandson is the direct descendent of the man found in Buffalo Cave. Beyond that, Loveless's living relatives weren't able to provide any leads, as they hadn't been aware of their ancestor's colorful history. For now, the case of the escaped murderer's own grisly death remains open.

[h/t The Guardian]

46 Weird Laws Still on the Books

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sfe-co2/iStock via Getty Images

You go about your day trying to be a good citizen, but you have no idea how many laws you're probably breaking. Maybe you're throwing snowballs, yelling at an umpire, or using high-tech equipment to make sure your shoes fit right. You know, everyday stuff.

Just to be safe, check out this list of 46 weird laws so you know what not to do.

1. Vermont banned banning clotheslines.

Colorful clothes hanging on a clothesline
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You read that right. In 2009, Vermont made it illegal for groups like neighborhood associations to ban clotheslines.

2. You can't throw rocks at trains in Wisconsin.

A train moving down the tracks.
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Wisconsin has a law that you cannot "propel any stone, brick, or other missile at any railroad train." I think this means that you can technically drop a brick onto a railroad train, but no one's ever tested it.

3. You can't make fake drugs in Arizona.

A bottle of pills and money.
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In Arizona, you can not manufacture or distribute "imitation controlled substances," which I guess is why they didn't film Breaking Bad there.

4. Blasphemy is still illegal in Michigan.

A woman screaming in her car.
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Blasphemy laws used to be very common in the United States, but there are still some in existence, including in Michigan, where cursing God is a G**-d*** misdemeanor.

5. Dogs can't hunt big game mammals in California.

Two dogs running in a field.
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Allowing dogs to pursue big game [PDF] mammals, such as bears or bobcats, is illegal in California. We were surprised to learn that this was an issue, because our office dog runs away from squirrels - although to be fair, they are larger than her.

6. Don't bite while boxing in Utah.

A young girl practices boxing.
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Bad news for Damon Salvatore and Mike Tyson, boxing in Utah cannot feature any biting.

7. Swearing at sports events is illegal in Massachusetts.

Angry fans at a sporting event.
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If you're over 16, it's against to law to swear at players or officials during sporting events in Massachusetts, so I guess at the end of every Red Sox game, 37,000 people are taken into custody.

8. You can't use a false name at a hotel in New Hampshire.

Hotel front desk.
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In New Hampshire, it is illegal to check into a hotel using a false name.

9. Pretending to be a religious figure is illegal in Alabama.

Hands held in prayer.
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And speaking of false identities, at public places in Alabama, you cannot pretend to be a minister, nun, priest, or rabbi if you aren't one, thereby making productions of The Sound of Music technically illegal. Unless the nuns are played by nuns, that is.

10. You couldn't throw snowballs in Severance, Colorado until 2019.

Kids having a snowball fight.
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This one isn't technically still on the books, but it juuuuuuuuust got changed. Thanks to a precocious 9-year-old boy, it's finally legal to throw snow balls in a Colorado town known for its snow.

11. You have to believe in something in order to hold public office in Texas.

A hand on a book while taking an oath.
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In Texas, officials aren't allowed to be, "excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledges the existence of a Supreme Being." So, if someone doesn't believe in a Supreme Being...exclude away?

12. Bingo games can't last more than five hours in North Carolina.

A group of senior citizens playing bingo.
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That's great news if, like me, you find Bingo boring after four minutes.

13. You can't sniff glue with the intent to get high from it in Indiana.

A bottle of glue.
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In Indiana, you're not allowed to sniff toxic vapors of any kind (including glue) with, "intent to cause a condition of intoxication, euphoria, excitement, exhilaration, stupefaction, or dulling of the senses." So if you're doing it for other reasons, that's fine.

14. Adultery is still a crime in New York.

Man looking at a woman walking down the street.
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Spitzer. Giuliani. Weiner. Paterson. FDR. They all did something punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

15. Biting someone's arm off is illegal in Rhode Island.

A cat biting its owner's arm.
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Rhode Island has a law against biting off the limbs of another person. It's a shame you have to legislate things like that, but I, you know, guess it will be good for when the zombies come...

16. Teachers can't talk to students about hand-holding in Tennessee.

A group of children holding hands.
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The Gateway Sexual Behavior Law in Tennessee prevents teachers from discussing anything that might be considered a "gateway" to sex. That includes kissing and hand-holding.

17. You can't sell your eyes in Texas.

A woman holding money in front of her face.
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When they sang, "The eyes of Texas are upon you," they meant that the state already has a pair and doesn't need to buy yours. It's not just eyes, either. It's illegal to sell any of your bodily organs.

18. Dance halls can't be close to cemeteries in South Carolina.

A group of kids at a dance hall.
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In South Carolina, dance halls are not allowed to be within a quarter-mile of a rural church or cemetery.

19. They also can't be open on Sundays.

A business hanging a closed sign.
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South Carolina also requires their dance halls to be closed on Sundays. It's almost like they don't like dancing.

20. Florida passed a law in 1974 allowing the state to ban alcohol sales during hurricanes.

A man and woman drinking beer on the beach.
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As a matter of public safety, the state wanted to curb people's ability to throw "hurricane parties," which are apparently a thing in Florida.

21. Utah doesn't have happy hour.

A group of people holding pints of beer.
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It's illegal to discount booze or do anything that might promote overindulgence, so Happy Hour is right out.

22. You can't use X-rays for shoe fittings in Washington.

An X-ray of a foot.
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Don't worry Dorothy, they fit.

23. You can't wound a fish with a firearm in Wyoming.

A woman holding a gun to a goldfish.
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You literally cannot shoot fish in a barrel in Wyoming, where they have a law against fishing with firearms that specifically says you cannot "wound" the fish with a gun, either.

24. Delaware doesn't like r-rated movies at drive-ins.

A movie drive-in sign.
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The state has a ban on playing R-rated movies specifically at drive-in theaters (because they're outside, maybe?), but it's probably unconstitutional and no one enforces it.

25. Don't try to corrupt public morals in Florida.

Thumb and fingers pulling out a red block that reads "Ethics" out of a stack of blocks.
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Attempting to "corrupt public morals" makes you guilty of a misdemeanor in Florida. How high is the bar here, exactly?

26. You can't live on a boat for more than 30 days in Georgia.

A photo of a house boat.
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That's during a calendar year, which presumably means you could spend 59 legal days crashing on your boat from December to January.

27. Silly string has been banned in Southington, Connecticut since 1996.

Children playing with Silly String.
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No word on whether Serious String is still allowed. Selling or using the silly stuff in public places comes with a $99 fine.

28. Hitting a vending machine is a no-no in Derby, Kansas.

A woman at a vending machine.
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Even if you're really frustrated because you paid for those Cool Ranch Doritos, and you desperately need those Cool Ranch Doritos and... GIMME MY DORITOS!

29. You can't make someone get a microchip in Wisconsin.

A person holding a microchip.
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In Wisconsin, "no person may require an individual to undergo the implanting of a microchip." ONLY IN WISCONSIN? Can we take this thing nationally?

30. Billboards are illegal in Hawaii.

A photo of a Hawaiian island.
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This is probably the best idea.

31. You've gotta keep your hypnotizing indoors in Everett, Washington.

A woman being hypnotized on a couch.
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Planning to mesmerize people? Absolutely do not do it with your storefront signage or out on the street or at your theater's ticket booth.

32. Avoid hunting in cemeteries in Enfield, New Hampshire.

A photo of a foggy graveyard.
Gill Copeland/iStock via Getty Images

You also can't hop the fence to get in [PDF].

33. People with sexually transmitted diseases can't get married in Nebraska.

A sign welcoming people to Nebraska.
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The law says, "No person who is afflicted with a venereal disease shall marry in this state." As you're probably guessing, that's a tough one to enforce, so if you get a marriage license without being detected, the marriage license still counts.

34. Every tanning bed in Iowa needs a warning sign.

A tanning bed.
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The hazards of using tanning beds must be posted conspicuously next to every single tanning bed.

35. Doors to public buildings in Florida must open outward.

A government building in Texas.
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Which makes sense. If you're running away from an alligator in the library, you don't want to have to stop to pull a door open.

36. Reno, Nevada, doesn't allow people to lie down on sidewalks.

A welcome sign in Reno, Nevada.
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So what's even the point of visiting?

37. you can be fined for leaving your car door open too long in Oregon.

A man with his car door open.
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Sounds silly, but cyclists get why.

38. You also can't throw your urine out of your car there.

Cup of urine.
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Oregon also has a law preventing improper disposal of human waste while you're on the road, so if you're traveling with containers of urine through Oregon, don't toss them out.

39. It's illegal to play dominoes in Alabama on a sunday.

A man playing dominoes.
BrianAJackson/iStock via Getty Images

You also aren't supposed to hunt, shoot, play cards, or race that day. You also can't promote or engage in a bear wrestling match (any day).

40. Do not molest butterflies in Pacific Grove, California.

A butterfly landing on someone's hand.
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When the monarch butterflies make their annual pilgrimage to town, give them a wide berth. Look with your eyes, not with your hands, people.

41. Emergency medical technicians aren't allowed to help dogs in Massachusetts.

A police dog.
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A bill was put forward in 2019 to allow them to treat police dogs who are injured in the line of duty.

42. You can't sell dog hair in Delaware.

A dog next to a pile of dog hair.
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You can't "recklessly" sell cat hair, either, nor "any product made in whole or in part" by your furry friends' fur.

43. Farmers can't sell pickles to customers at farmers' markets in Connecticut.

A pickle jar.
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It's a myth that a pickle has to bounce to be legally a pickle, but it's not a myth that you can't sell a pickle (bouncing or otherwise) if you're a farmer in Connecticut. Salsa, too. Anything with a pH value at 4.6 or below is forbidden, but there's a bill trying to change that.

44. You can't screech your tires in Derby, Kansas.

Tire marks on the pavement.
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According to code 10.04.200, you can be fined $500 for your tire noise, so drive politely out there.

45. You can't wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a crime in New Jersey.

A bulletproof vest.
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If you're planning to rob a bank, you'll get in double trouble if you're wearing bullet-resistant gear during the stick-up.

46. It's illegal to be drunk on a train in Michigan.

Seats on a train.
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Once that train enters Ohio, shots for everybody.

For more on these weird laws, check out the full video below.

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14 True Crime Songs About Murder and Mayhem

Bob Dylan performs a concert at the Warfield in San Francisco, California, in 1979.
Bob Dylan performs a concert at the Warfield in San Francisco, California, in 1979.
George Rose/Getty Images

The phrase “ripped from the headlines” doesn’t just apply to Law & Order episodes and Lifetime movies. Songwriters throughout the history of popular music have drawn inspiration from real-life tales of murder and mayhem to craft their tunes. From old-timey folk ballads to modern-day trap bangers, true crime songs shock and excite us while forcing us to consider the darkness lurking all around. Here are 14 of the best examples.

1. “Nebraska” // Bruce Springsteen

In January 1958, a 19-year-old Nebraska teenager named Charles Starkweather went on an interstate killing spree that left 11 people dead. Along for the ride was his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, whose role in the slayings remains a point of debate. On the title track of his 1982 album Nebraska, Bruce Springsteen sings from the perspective of Starkweather on the electric chair, offering a chilling explanation for his crimes: “Well, sir, I guess there’s just a meanness in this world.”

2. “Georgia Lee” // Tom Waits

“Why wasn’t god watching?” asks Tom Waits in this 1999 ballad about Georgia Lee Moses, a 12-year-old black girl who was abducted and murdered in Petaluma, California, in 1997. Moses was a middle school dropout from a troubled home, and barely anyone noticed when she went missing. “Georgia Lee did not get any real attention,” Waits told LA Weekly in 1999. “And I wanted to write a song about it.”

3. “Annie Christian” // Prince

Over disorienting synths and a clipped beat, Prince references a handful of true crimes in this 1981 parable about evil in society, which was included on his Controversy album. The titular character—whose name is a play on “antichrist”—is apparently responsible for a string of child murders in Atlanta, the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, the killing of John Lennon, and even the high-level government corruption unearthed by the FBI’s Abscam investigation.

4. “Stagger Lee” // Lloyd Price

On December 25, 1895, William “Billy” Lyons and his buddy “Stack” Lee Sheldon were knocking back drinks in a St. Louis bar. They began arguing about politics, and Billy snatched the white Stetson off Stack’s head. When Billy refused to give the hat back, Stack shot him dead. The murder made Stack (alternately known as “Stagolee,” “Stack-O-Lee,” “Stack O’Lee,” and “Stagger Lee”) an American folk antihero. He’s been immortalized in hundreds of songs by artists ranging from Ma Rainey to Nick Cave. R&B singer Lloyd Price reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 1959’s “Stagger Lee,” the most famous telling of this timeless story.

5. “1913 Massacre” // Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie penned this plaintive 1941 folk ballad about the “Italian Hall Disaster” of 1913, which took place at a Christmas party for striking miners and their families in Calumet, Michigan. Someone yelled “Fire!” in the crowded hall, and the resulting stampede killed 73 people, most of them children. It’s unknown who gave the false fire call, but many people—Guthrie included—believe it was an anti-union operative looking to spoil the party.

6. “Suffer Little Children” // The Smiths

Growing up in Manchester, England, in the ‘60s, Steven Patrick Morrissey was haunted by the “Moors Murders,” a gruesome series of child murders perpetrated by couple Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. Morrissey name-checks three of the five victims in “Suffer Little Children,” a song about the case featured on the 1984 self-titled debut album by his band The Smiths. Morrissey’s lyrics created a great deal of controversy, but the singer claimed he meant no harm. He even became friendly with Ann West, mother of Lesley Ann Downey, one of the slain children.

7. “Darkness” // Eminem

Depending on your point of view, Eminem either denounces or glorifies gun violence on 2020’s instantly controversial “Darkness.” Eminem raps this novelistic song from the perspective of Stephen Paddock, the mass shooter who killed 58 people at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, before reportedly turning the gun on himself. “You’ll never find a motive, truth is I have no idea,” Em raps. “I am just as stumped, no signs of mental illness.” The music video ends with a message urging fans to vote and help change America’s gun laws.

8. “Brenda’s Got a Baby” // 2Pac

2Pac was moved to write this harrowing 1991 hip-hop classic after reading a newspaper article about a 12-year-old Brooklyn girl who threw her newborn baby into a trash compactor. (Miraculously, the child survived.) In a 1997 interview with The New Yorker, Pac said he considered the song a political statement about poverty, child abuse, drugs, and other issues. “It talked about how the innocent are the ones that get hurt,” he said.

9. “Deep Red Bells” // Neko Case

“He led you to this hiding place,” sings Neko Case to open this 2002 country-noir stunner. The “you,” she explained to The New York Times Magazine in 2009, is one of the young women killed by Gary Ridgway, a.k.a. the “Green River Killer,” throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Ridgway is said to have murdered at least 49 women, many of them prostitutes and runaways. Case—who grew up in Tacoma, Washington, before Ridgway was apprehended—carried a knife with her to school.

10. “Son of Sam” // Dead Boys

For a yearlong stretch beginning in July 1976, New Yorkers lived in fear of the "Son of Sam," a mysterious figure who murdered six people with a .44 caliber revolver and taunted police with handwritten letters. In August 1977, police apprehended the killer, David Berkowitz, who claimed he was given the murderous orders by his neighbor’s dog. (Berkowitz later admitted that story was bogus.) Cleveland-born, New York City-based punk rockers Dead Boys seem to accept Berkowitz's initial explanation for the slayings on their 1978 tune “Son of Sam,” painting the infamous serial killer as a helpless slave (in his own mind, anyway) to demonic forces.

11. “I Don’t Like Mondays” // The Boomtown Rats

On the morning of Monday, January 29, 1979, a 16-year-old San Diego girl named Brenda Ann Spencer opened fire on Grover Cleveland Elementary School, which was located right across the street from her house. She killed two people and injured nine others, eight of them children. Asked why she did it, Spencer told a reporter, “I don’t like Mondays. This livens up the day.” Upon hearing this, The Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof—the Live Aid guy—dashed off “I Don’t Like Mondays,” a mournful response to the senselessness of it all. The song reached #1 on the U.K. charts.

12. “Wildside” // Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch

Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg followed his 1991 chart-topper “Good Vibrations” with “Wildside,” a series of musical vignettes about the sorry state of the nation. He references two real-life crimes that shook his hometown of Boston. First, the murder of a pregnant woman named Carol Stuart by her husband, Charles, who blamed the killing on a fictitious black man in hopes of pocketing the insurance money. Next, the tragic death of 12-year-old Tiffany Moore, who was gunned down in a drive-by shooting.

13. “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” // Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens’s 2005 concept album Illinoise references many famous figures from the Prairie State, including serial killer John Wayne Gacy Jr., who murdered at least 33 boys and young men in the ‘70s. What’s interesting—and a little unsettling—is how tenderly Stevens sings of the man known as the “Killer Clown.” “I felt insurmountable empathy not with his behavior but with his nature, and there was nothing I could do to get around confessing that, however horrifying that sounds,” Stevens said in a 2005 interview.

14. “Hurricane” // Bob Dylan

In the court of public opinion, Bob Dylan’s epic 1975 song “Hurricane” went a long way toward clearing Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, an African American boxer convicted of killing three white people in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1966. Carter always maintained his innocence, and Dylan’s song blames the racist criminal justice system for jailing a man who “coulda been the champion of the world.” After being released in 1976 and then convicted again in a second trial, Carter was finally freed in 1985, when a federal judge ruled that the prosecution had based its case on “racism rather than reason and concealment rather than disclosure.”

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