Skeletal Remains Found With Russian Coins Ignite Mafia Questions

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SAUGET, IL. (KTVI) – Police in tiny Sauget, Illinois are dealing with a murder mystery.  The victim, whose body has been deep in the woods for more than two years, has a hole in his head, and nothing but Russian money in his pockets.

Things unfolded Monday when a hunter took a shot at a turkey that fled into the brush.  Some sixty yards in, the man stumbled across a human skull.  Police showed up, skeptical of what they might find, but indeed found the head.  It had a hole in the back, either from being struck or shot according to Detective Sergeant Vito Parisi.

Officers came out again Tuesday, and found the rest of the remains.  They also located two articles of clothing, a single sock and a pair of blue sweat pants.  The pants were very large, a 46 waist, but it’s what they found in the pocket that was most bizarre.

“In the pocket was five coins, rusty coins,” Parisi said.  “They were determined to be Russian rubles, all of the coins, which is very odd.”

Odd to say the least.  A dead body and five Russian rubles in this small industrial town is enough to set imaginations running wild.

“You can speculate,” Parisi says.  “Everything’s pretty open.  Everything is on the table.  Obviously it’s pretty remote that somebody from around here will have five Russian coins in their pocket.”

His chief confesses the idea of some Russian mob murder mystery was not too wild a thought, even for veteran cops.

“When the forensic investigator first pulled those coins out of the pocket that was the first thing we thought,” Chief Patrick Delaney said.  

Parisi chimed in, “That’s what everybody thought was possibly Russian mafia.”

They have turned their evidence over to the Illinois State Police crime lab.  Meanwhile, they are reaching out to departments around the nation, in search of cases with large missing men and dental records that can be compared to the body found here.  

As for the Russian mafia angle, we asked Parisi if something so wild in this town of just over 200 is even plausible.  

“Anything is plausible,” he said. “So I’d have to say yes.  Anything is on the table.” 

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