During the 1930s America was continuing to recover from the Great Depression. In the Kingsbury Run section of Cleveland, Ohio, during that period, the environment showed no progression. The area had been converted into a "hobo jungle" and was very unsafe, with waste and garbage lining the streets. Within the hustle and bustle of mid-depression Kingsbury Run, inhabitants of The Roaring Third, a rough area designated for prostitution, bars, brothels, and debauchery, were being murdered in grizzly fashion. Thirteen bodies were decapitated and mutilations to the inside of the bodies were done via the torso. Also, the bodies were all discovered in dastardly areas, with the final being in the most significant and menacing.
Eliot Ness was the Director of Public Safety for Cleveland, Ohio, during the time of the killings, and initially had no idea how to react. He went through with a strategy to burn down the homeless slums and incarcerate the inhabitants for being homeless, after the last two bodies were found within view of his office, which, in his mind, eliminated victims of the Cleveland Torso Murderer, as the murdered were of lower class and regulars in The Roaring Third. The murders stopped afterwards, but Ness' reputation was tarnished. Ness eventually found a victim that would prove to be his main suspect for the murders, Dr. Francis E. Sweeney. He held Sweeney in a hotel for around two weeks for interrogation, in between the eleventh and final two killings--which was highly against Sweeney's rights--in which a polygraph was administered with the inventor of the polygraph machine. The polygraph showed that Sweeney was the killer, afterwards Ness let Sweeney go. A few months after the hotel room interrogation, the final victims of the torso murders were found, within view of Ness' office, to which Ness burned the slums.
The final spot of the killings is crucial in understanding the taunting behavior and spooky awareness of the Cleveland Torso Murderer, in that the murderer knew that Ness was trying to capture and convict him and that the killer knew he couldn't be caught. Dr. Sweeney couldn't be charged, because during the technology available during the 1930s couldn't find any groundbreaking evidence to justly convict and charge Sweeney of the murders. The only evidence Ness could find was circumstantial and during the time of the murders, the evidence Ness had could not fly in court. This final killing, to some, is highly important in proving Sweeney was the murderer, but to the prosecutors, if it ever went into a court of law, it wouldn't be enough.