SUNSHINE AND SADNESS

Traffic is light as I drive north on I-17 from downtown. I spot the Woodstone Apartments on the right side of the highway.

I know I've arrived when I see the big, block letters on the wall of the 700-apartment development. They read:

Intelligent Living
Intelligent Minds

As I turn into the main entrance, there is another sign greeting visitors: "Luxury Living."

I wonder if Angela Brosso, then 21, had noticed these signs, too, the day she came to register at the rental office.

At the mailboxes, there are signs advertising tear gas for sale. Someone also wants to sell a three-foot-long king snake for $40. The seller guarantees the snake is "very tame."

There is a small athletic club in the clubhouse adjacent to the rental office. This is where Brosso took aerobics classes three times each week. There is also a swimming pool heated to 84 degrees.

Brosso was a recent graduate of DeVry Institute of Technology in Los Angeles, and drove a silver-colored 1985 Dodge Omni with the license plates she had purchased back home in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. The lone identifying mark on the car was a DeVry Institute sticker on the rear window.

We still know little about this star-crossed girl.
Several months ago, she moved here from California and into apartment 3115, a one-bedroom unit, with her boyfriend, Joseph Krakowiecki, 24. He is still a student at the DeVry branch in Phoenix. The school is located several miles south of the apartment complex.

In our minds, Angela Brosso will be remembered simply as "the woman who was beheaded." We will think reflexively of the accompanying horror: the demonic mutilation of her body by someone who may have been attempting to imitate a character called Buffalo Bill in the film The Silence of the Lambs.

There is an even more frightening theory. Could it be the work of teenagers obsessed with MTV, weird music and drugs, members of a youth culture saturated in violence from their earliest years?

Who is it, after all, who awaits trial for the horrible murders at the Buddhist temple but a pair of teenagers who have confessed and explained how the crime was committed?

@rule:
@body:A tall young man with shoulder-length hair answers the door to apartment 3115. In his arms, he cradles a three-foot-long ferret.

"Yes, this is where she lived," he says, before I even ask.
"Her parents just left. They came over from Pennsylvania to pick up her things."
This was the day after Angela Brosso's head had been found floating in a canal near Metrocenter.

"Are you Joseph Krakowiecki?"
"No, I'm his friend. We've traded apartments so that he can avoid the media."
He is friendly but aloof, almost bored. He has nothing to say, and appears consumed by the welfare of his pet ferret.

I walk downstairs. I encounter a young woman. She is in a floor-length bathrobe. She has long, straight hair. The small dog at her feet does not bark.

She says, "I guess you could say I knew her. We talked on the stairs. We talked about the weather and how we were glad the heat was over. My God. Whoever thinks something like this will happen?

"I'm frightened half to death."
I walk south, through the complex. It is like a college campus. I wander toward the bike path on the eastern border of the property.

Several tenants are moving out, hauling and wrestling their mattresses down the stairs before lifting them into the backs of pickup trucks and securing them with ropes.

"Can I talk to you?" I ask one bearded young man.
"Are you going to try to use that tape recorder?" he demands.
I say goodbye to him.

There are many out-of-state license plates: New Mexico, California, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Alaska, New York, Illinois, Hawaii.

There is a tractor-trailer rig parked toward the rear of the complex. Seven small boats are stored there, too.

I walk past the dumpsters where the police had rummaged for Angela Brosso's head that first morning. I move across a dirt field covered with scrub to the bike path on which she pedaled north toward Cave Creek Park at 7 on the evening of November 8.

I walk along the bike path on which Angela Brosso took her final ride into the night on the eve of her 22nd birthday.

I don't have to walk for long before I see the flowers. Someone has placed them at the spot where her naked body was found.

Angela Brosso's head had been severed from her body. Her clothes were placed in a pile not far away. Unspeakable things were done to the rest of her body.

It is a sunny day. How can there be danger here?
A young woman passing by sees the flowers and recognizes the meaning. Her mouth opens in a silent scream.

She is right to scream. The pathos created by an unclad body tossed in an open field is absolute and universal.

I think of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the antihero of Thomas Harris' The Silence of the Lambs, the pure sociopath with his unnatural desires and enormous intellectual gifts--Dr. Lecter, with the maroon-colored eyes and the six fingers on his left hand, who was confined for a time to a cell without windows. On the wall of this cell, he drew a map of Florence, Italy.

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4 comments
asbirdiesingh
asbirdiesingh

We lived about a mile north of Woodstone for nearly thirty years beginning 1980. That morning after the horrible homicide I was driving my little kids to Rose Mofford Park so they could ride their bikes. The yellow crime scene tape was all over the site next to the complex and a huge crowd surrounded the area. Then detective Leo Speliopoulis was also at the Phoenix PD's mobile crime lab with a bunch of other cops.

I recall seeing a lot of people scouring the open unkempt field adjacent to the east side of the apt.complex and what appeared to be a corpse covered by a sheet. My first thought was it must have been a shooting, something everyone was used to at that point.

Then I was able to ascertain some info from a couple of the people in the crowd that had gathered. Sick to my stomach I drove to the park and let the kids ride until another biker rode by. He looked disheveled and was going rather fast until he fell off the bike. Oddly I noticed it was a woman's bike, and he had bloodsoaked clothes on one side. I quickly enquired if he was alright and he jumped on the bike with a nod and disappeared down the bike path. Well with that I gathered the two kids and took off hoping the detectives were still there some half our later. Thankfully they were and would be there for a lot longer as it turned out. I recanted what I had observed and gave them as good a description of the guy on the woman's bike as possible, hoping it would help solve the gory crime.

They thanked me for being diligent and told me they would let me know if my info led to any meaningful arrests in the case. The next day a detective called me and said that they followed up on the leads I provided and it was a different color bike and not someone connected to the case that was on it. Over the years I've been pondering and wondering if that cold case had been solved yet. Every once in a while it would be on the news as yet unsolved but that they would never cease working the case until it was solved. It was at least reassuring to know that the PHX PD detectives hadn't actually closed the case file.

Now when I heard about the recent arrest of a suspect yesterday (some two decades later) it's mind boggling yet comforting to know that justice will prevail, no matter how long it takes. Kudos to the Law Enforcement and their long winded desire to work the little details and thanks to DNA and Forensics tools to solve such gruesome crimes in our society.

Looking forward to seeing how this whole thing is going to unravel, and how and what exactly transpired that horrible evening. Also how the other victim's murder happened months later in roughly the same area and in the same way.

Are these serial type killers mentally just wired wrong, or what the heck is going on in their heads? Did they know their victims, and so on and so forth?

asbirdiesingh
asbirdiesingh

We lived about a mile north of Woodstone for nearly thirty years beginning 1980. That morning after the horrible homicide I was driving my little kids to Rose Mofford Park so they could ride their bikes. The yellow crime scene tape was all over the site next to the complex and a huge crowd surrounded the area. Then detective Leo Speliopoulis was also at the Phoenix PD's mobile crime lab with a bunch of other cops.

I recall seeing a lot of people scouring the open unkempt field adjacent to the east side of the apt.complex and what appeared to be a corpse covered by a sheet. My first thought was it must have been a shooting, something everyone was used to at that point.

Then I was able to ascertain some info from a couple of the people in the crowd that had gathered. Sick to my stomach I drove to the park and let the kids ride until another biker rode by. He looked disheveled and was going rather fast until he fell off the bike. Oddly I noticed it was a woman's bike, and he had bloodsoaked clothes on one side. I quickly enquired if he was alright and he jumped on the bike with a nod and disappeared down the bike path. Well with that I gathered the two kids and took off hoping the detectives were still there some half hour later. Thankfully they were and would be there for a lot longer as it turned out. I recanted what I had observed and gave them as good a description of the guy on the woman's bike as possible, hoping it would help solve the gory crime.

They thanked me for being diligent and told me they would let me know if my info led to any meaningful arrests in the case. The next day a detective called me and said that they followed up on the leads I provided and it was a different color bike and not someone connected to the case that was on it. Over the years I've been pondering and wondering if that cold case had been solved yet. Every once in a while it would be on the news as yet unsolved but that they would never cease working the case until it was solved. It was at least reassuring to know

l.north
l.north

Just to add more details for interested people,the first names of people in this group were "Ronnie","Chris" and "John"."Ronnie"attended Devry and was a self proclaimed"warlcock" and was a crossdresser.'John" was from Goodyear,but moved to the apartments to be closer to his job.He was allegedly a "computer geek"in his late 20s or early 30s in 1992 and had a thin build with sandy colored hair.Not much is known of Chris.Alegedly either Ronnie or Chris had a relative who lived in a first floor apartment where Angela Brosso's missing bike was seen.Allegedy the police checked out this person who claimed he found the"bike" and it had been stolen by "someone lifting it over the back patio wall".I urge anyone who had any info on this case to call silent witness and tell them what you know,even if you don't think it's that important.We have to solve these cases.

l.north
l.north

This case was connected to the September 1993 murder of Melanie Bernas.As for the "cult related"rumors they came from a group of people in Woodstone Apartments.Allegedly members of this suspected group attended a Haloween party at the complex dressed as "warlocks".Allegedly a purple bike was seen in one of there apartments shortly after the murders.Allegedly Krakowiecki took a dna sample and was cleared.I hope anybody with any info on this case contacts Phx police cold case department.

 
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