A simple landscaping operation led to a ghoulish discovery in Wisconsin on Thursday afternoon.
Members of the Town of Geneva Highway Department were cutting tall grass along North Como Road in the quiet rural town when they found two suitcases. Accustomed to finding debris in the brush, the workers simply placed the luggage on the roadside.
But when police officers opened the suitcases, they found that each contained a body, marking what might be the first homicide investigation in the town’s history, Chief Steven Hurley told the Los Angeles Times.
For the Record
A previous version of this story incorrectly said the landscaping operation was conducted by police.
“In the town of Geneva, in recent history, there haven’t been any homicides. I don’t know if there’s ever been a homicide” in the town, Hurley said Friday. It’s “a very quiet community. We’ve got a pretty low crime rate here.”
The bodies were found about 3 p.m. Thursday, and the Waukesha Medical Examiner’s Office began conducting autopsies Friday, Hurley said. The autopsies had revealed little as of 4 p.m., but Hurley said medical investigators would return to work Saturday.
It remains unclear when the suitcases were dropped along the roadway, how the victims were killed or how long the bodies were there, Hurley said.
The discovery continued a violent and disturbing week in Wisconsin. On Saturday, police say, a 12-year-old girl was stabbed 19 times by two classmates in Waukesha. According to subsequent court findings, the girl’s attackers planned to kill her to appease “Slender Man,” a fictional character associated with the CreepyPasta wiki.
Como Road in Geneva, a community of about 5,000 in southern Wisconsin, is in a largely rural area, Hurley said. There are farms on both sides of the road in the area where the suitcases were found, and Hurley said the nearest house was about an eighth of a mile away.
In a statement, police called the killings an “isolated incident” and assured residents that the crime did not occur where the bodies were found.
Jerry Knop, a 68-year-old Geneva resident, told the Times there are only three or four homes along North Como Road, so it would have been very easy for someone to dump the suitcases in the tall grass there and slip away unseen.
Knop said it was jarring to hear that two bodies had been found less than a half-mile from the home where he’s lived for 34 years.
“I just thought boy, that’s mighty close to home,” he said.
Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news