The Townsend Murder Case Had A Man Jailed Here In Cleveland, And His Identity Is Still A Mystery

In this modern day and age, forensics is an incomprehensibly precise science. DNA analysis, of course, is to thank for the open-and-close cases that our law enforcement often addresses today. However, that wasn’t a science yet in 1854 when William Townsend and his gang took the life of John Hamilton Nelles. The gang was, for the most part, captured… except for Townsend. His journey took him all around Lake Erie, and William Townsend continued to evade authorities… or did he? This is one story that is almost too bizarre to be true, yet Cleveland set the scene for part of its unraveling. Buckle up, because you’re about to go on a wild ride through local history.

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Whether or not the man on trial was Townsend, the master of disguise got away with murder. He was never heard from again, leaving those involved in his case to speculate about his true identity.

Are you fascinated by mysteries? The identity of the Cleveland Torso Murderer is still contested to this day, and some have even suggested that our local crime spree is connected to the infamous Black Dahlia Murder case.