Human Interest Headless Torso Found in Idaho Grave ID'd as Outlaw Accused of Murdering His Wife in 1916 The body of Joseph Henry Loveless was first discovered in 1979 in a cave in East Idaho By Jason Hahn Jason Hahn Jason Hahn is a Human Interest and Sports Reporter for PEOPLE. He's worked at PEOPLE's Los Angeles Bureau as a writer and reporter since 2017 and has interviewed the likes of Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Brady. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He previously worked for Complex Magazine in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on January 2, 2020 03:47 PM Share Tweet Pin Email The identity of a headless male torso found in a cave four decades ago has finally been revealed — and with it, the man’s shocking criminal history. Since 1979, a mystery has hung over investigators in East Idaho. It was in August of that year that a suspicious burlap sack filled with clothing and pieces of a human torso was found in a cave near the Montana border by artifact hunters, according to a report by Idaho State University. A coroner at the time believed the body had been dismembered and the man may have been placed there no more than 10 years earlier. The body was well preserved, and the coroner concluded he was about 40 years old when he died. Still, investigators had no clue who the man was. The case would go cold until 1991, when a hand belonging to the torso was discovered by an 11-year-old girl. Severed limbs were later found in the same area. Investigators asked DNA Doe Project — a nonprofit volunteer organization that helps to identify deceased people using forensic genealogy — for assistance earlier this year, with the forensics lab, Othram Inc., testing the DNA. The groups revealed their shocking findings in a press conference on Tuesday. “His name was Joseph Henry Loveless,” DNA Doe Project team leader Anthony Redgrave said, according to the East Idaho News. “Joseph Henry Loveless was born Dec. 3, 1870, in Payson, Utah territory.” According to the paper, Loveless was an outlaw had been arrested many times in the early 1900s. His last recorded location was an Idaho jail cell where he was listed under a pseudonym — Walt Cairns — for the grisly murder of his wife, Agnes, with an axe. Hiker Finds Decapitated Body in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park DNA Doe Project A 1916 newspaper article described the heinous crime: “Her death resulted after 50 hours of intense agony. It is charged that the ax was wielded by her common-law husband in Dubois at an early hour Saturday morning after she had returned home from a dance in that city,” the article read, according to East Idaho News. Several days after being jailed, Loveless cut through the bars using a saw he’d hidden in his shoe. Investigators believed he met his demise shortly after making his escape in May 1916. “In all likelihood Henry had been murdered and transported to the cave not long after he escaped, making his post mortem interval – the time between his death and discovery of his body — as long as 63 years,” Redgrave said, USA Today reports. “This case has been historic in more than one meaning of the word.” Navy Vet Was Dead Almost 3 Years Before His Body Was Discovered by Chance in His Texas Apartment A wanted poster for Loveless describes his appearance, though it lists him under his “Walt Cairns” pseudonym. “Walt Cairns, age about 40 years, height about 5 ft. 8 or 9 in., weight about 165 pounds, dark brown hair, slightly gray around ears, eyes bluish brown, medium complexion, has little or no eyebrows, small scar over right eye, tattoo of star on right hand between thumb and index finger, also tattoo of anchor same place on left hand; he wore a light colored hat, brown coat, red sweater, blue overalls over black trousers,” the poster states. After pinpointing an identification, investigators were able to track down the 87-year-old grandson of Loveless who helped to confirm his identity using DNA. To this day, Loveless’ skull has never been found.