Pillows for roving men

For over 34 years, eleven male bodies have lain in the refrigerated chambers of the Valparaíso City Mortuary, while the case popularly dubbed the Minor Saints remains one of the most mysterious unsolved crimes.

The authorities found the first of the bodies in the early hours of Monday 11 September 1973 beneath the fretwork balcony of the Hotel Splendor in the harbour area. The man was lying on his left side, knees bent towards his trunk and palms together at his chest. At first, the greengrocer Miguel Ruán de la Vázquez took the body to be a sleeping drunk, alerting the police only later. The investigation of the scene, including drawings by the newly appointed court artist N. H., established that a small pillow of hand-drawn satin had been placed carefully beneath the man’s head.

A thorough forensic examination of the body found no sign of physical abuse or poisoning. Despite its rather strange nature, the case was left without proper detective input until the following Monday, when newspaper boy Pepe Alonso Sánchez y Iguarán found another body beneath the stonework balcony of the Public Library.