Indiana

The bodies of two brothers with ties to the mafia are found buried in a cornfield

June 23, 1986
Indiana
The bodies of mobsters Anthony and Michael Spilotro are found buried in a cornfield

The brothers had been killed after Tony had begun to cause troubles for the Outfit, specifically not running the casinos well, causing a loss of revenue. He and his brother likely realized they weren’t long for the world after a meeting was set up in Bensenville, Illinois; Michael told his daughter he loved her “at least 10 times before leaving” while Tony indicated to his wife and an associate that he might not return.

Both brothers were beaten to death on June 14.


Michael (left) and Tony (right) in 1983

On June 23, a farmer noticed a patch of soft soil near a cornfield. He initially believed someone had poached a deer and buried the carcass, and notified the police. The heavily-bruised bodies of the Spilotro brothers were found instead. Forensic pathologist Dr. John Pless, who performed the autopsies on the brothers, found they had been beaten extensively with punches and kicks to their heads, necks, and chests. He also noted one contributing factor of their deaths was internal bleeding: their lungs and airways filled with blood to the point they could not breathe.


Where the brothers’ bodies were found

The case was investigated but grew cold quickly, but was reopened decades later. On September 27, 2007, mob boss James Marcello was convicted of the Spilotros’ murders. He was sentenced to life in prison.

The murders of Nicky and Dominick Santoro in the movie Casino are partially based on the Spilotros’. The movie counterparts, however, were beaten with baseball bats and buried alive.

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