11-16-2006, 08:00 AM #1
RI - Louis James DeFusco, 38, Warwick, 6 August 1964
Originally ruled a suicide the death of Italian businessman Louis James DeFusco is now a suspected homicide following family request of 2nd autopsy. His body was originally found in 1964 with an anchor tied to his feet and a gunshot to the mouth. Medical examiners original autopsy missed the 2nd bullet hole to the back of the head/neck because the body had been submerged in water for approximately 12 days. DeFusco had three children and was involved in the process of a divorce at the time of his death. He had no known mob connections.
11-16-2006, 08:14 AM #2Former Member
Originally Posted by angelwngs
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
They are just now ruling this a homicide?
11-16-2006, 08:30 AM #3
I understand that forensics weren't what they are today, but I guess I think the anchor would be suspicious- why would you shoot yourself and sink yourself to the bottom of the river? One would assume the gunshot would have been fatal enough? (I'm not making light of this!) Did it not seem suspicious back then because the mob back then was quite powerful and no one would have crossed them? (Even in determining a suspicious death?) And I missed the part about the second bullet hole... pretty suspicious!
11-27-2006, 01:34 PM #4
1964 Death re-opened
Foul play suspected in a death once ruled a suicide
POSTED: 5:17 p.m. EST, November 15, 2006
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PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) -- Louis James DeFusco was found floating in Narragansett Bay in August 1964, a ship's anchor tied around his legs and a bullet in his mouth. Authorities called it a suicide. But relatives were left with lingering doubts and questions.
Some four decades later, his relatives had his body exhumed so it could be moved to a family burial plot and asked the medical examiner's office to perform another autopsy.
The second examination this past summer revealed a bullet wound to the back of the head -- a finding that switched the official cause of death from suicide-by-drowning to homicide.
Family members say that if they can't find out who killed DeFusco, at least they have it on record that he didn't take his own life.
"We didn't want this thing to go on anymore, with the injustice of it being recorded as a suicide," Robert DeFusco, who was 15 when his father died, told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Louis DeFusco was 38 when he disappeared the night of August 6, 1964. He was last seen leaving a marina in Warwick that he and his brother had just sold.
Autopsy missed head wound
Twelve days later, his body was found floating in the water.
An initial autopsy found a bullet in the mouth and damage to his teeth, but didn't spot a gunshot to the back of the head, said Dr. Thomas Gilson, the state's current chief medical examiner.
"He'd been in the water for a period of time, maybe as much as 12 days, and it was overlooked," Gibson said.
Now, the homicide classification provides a measure of vindication for DeFusco's son and other relatives who have maintained for decades that the death was not a suicide.
The youngest of six children, and a entrepreneurial son of Italian immigrants, DeFusco was considered a hardworking businessman.
His younger brother, Anthony DeFusco, called him "a beautiful kid, a good-looking kid, a good boy."
At the time of his death, he was in the process of divorcing his wife, with whom he had three kids. Authorities looked into several theories, even questioning his estranged wife -- who was in Arizona at the time -- before ultimately settling on suicide.
"He wasn't despondent, none of the things that would indicate he would be suicidal. It just wasn't him," said Robert DeFusco.
Signs of foul play
Plus, there were the peculiar circumstances of his death -- the heavy anchor tied around his legs, for instance, and the undetected gunshot wound to the head.
After the first autopsy failed to find the entrance wound, Gilson said, doctors must have inferred that DeFusco shot himself in the mouth, survived, and drowned by attaching an anchor to himself. The gunshot wound identified in the mouth was initially thought to be nonfatal.
The younger DeFusco said a local police chief was so insistent that his father had committed suicide that he stood on a chair to give a demonstration of how it could have happened.
DeFusco said there was plenty of speculation as to who killed his father, but that it was hard to know the truth. He said his father was not involved in any way with the mob, but said there were "shady characters who had boats" and "some of them were mob-related figures."
"Nobody kills like that" but the mob, Robert DeFusco said.
Gilson said the case was referred to the Warwick Police Department, which was investigating. A spokesman for Attorney General Patrick Lynch said the office was working with the police to evaluate any evidence.
Warwick Police Chief Stephen McCartney did not return a call seeking comment.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
11-30-2006, 10:00 PM #5
Wow...interesting case...thanks for posting! I can't believe they missed the gunshot wound to the back of the head, and dismissed the fact that he had an anchor tied around his legs
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