On the morning of August 10, 1991, Danny Casolaro was found dead in his hotel room bathtub in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Naked, with twelve slashes to his wrists. Blood on the wall and floor, a scene that made one of the housekeeping staff faint. Paramedics found a beer can, a half-full bottle of wine, two garbage bags, and a standard straight razor.
A detail revealed later: several towels were found on the bathroom, looked as if they had been used to wipe up blood, someone doing so using their foot, according to one of the housekeeping heads at the hotel. The blood smeared in a trail, leading to the disposed towels. These towels were thrown away.
The death was ruled a suicide. A Martinsburg undertaker embalmed Casolaro’s body that night, before Casolaro’s family had been notified of his death—a crime in West Virginia.
Some of his fingernails were broken--no one looked under his fingernails for residue or skin fragments, any sign of a struggle. No bath water sample was taken. A bruise was found under the top of his head that could have induced moderate hemorrhaging.
His briefcase and accordion file of notes on the Octopus, including the related manuscript that he was working on, were not in the room. They were not in his car. The immediate area was combed. Nothing.
The Octopus descended into the waters, its prey left spent, washed up on shore. No photographs, only anecdotes, a fluid story.