Juan Ignacio Blanco  


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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Dismemberment
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: December 14, 1868
Date of arrest: February 1869
Date of birth: ???
Victim profile: Desiré Bodasse (male, 72)
Method of murder: Beating with a flatiron
Location: Paris, France
Status: Committed suicide in his cell before trial, 1869

Blood found at the scene of the crime has trapped many killers who thought they removed all incriminating traces. A sensational demonstration of this was provided by the French detective Gustave Mace in 1869, when he was interrogating a murder suspect in the room which he believed had been the scene of a ghastly crime involving the dismemberment of the victim.

Convinced that a great deal of blood must have been shed, Mace looked about the room but could see no obvious traces.  Then he noticed a marked hollow in the tiled floor. With the suspect looking on in astonishment, the detective took a jug of water and tipped the contents on the floor - the water collected in the hollow area, and when the tiles were lifted their under-surfaces were found to be caked with dried blood. This discovery led to a murder confession by Pierre Voirbo and to a triumph of detection for Mace.


A famous nineteenth-century case in Paris

Water from a well in the cellar of a restaurant had made several customers ill, and an investigation located a fabric package that contained a decomposing male leg. Detective Gustave Macé then pulled a second leg from the well, also wrapped in fabric. He learned about a man who’d wandered around with smelly packages and believed it had been a tailor name Pierre Voirbo.

When the victim was identified, Macé discovered that Voirbo had recently quarreled with him over money, which made Voirbo a prime suspect. Macé went to question Voirbo and noticed that his lodgings had recently been cleaned. The cleaning woman said that Voirbo had done it.

Macé was afraid any evidence he might have found there was now lost, but then he realized that the floors were tiled, with alleys between the tiles. He poured water on the floor to see where it ran, and then lifted the tiles in the area where it had pooled. Beneath them was enough blood to indicate that something violent had occurred in that room. Voirbo, who watched the incriminating demonstration, broke down and confessed.



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