Veteran true crime writer Jon Wells leads us into a real-life crime investigation and the twisted mind of a murderous man
A man rages in his home on April 4, 1999, breaking furniture and dishes. A woman wants to leave him. “You’re not going anywhere,” he tells her. Later that day, a police officer reports to the house and finds human tissue and organs in a bag left out for garbage. The person of interest in the case is a steelworker named Sam Pirrera, who lives in the house. But who is the victim? Sam’s current estranged wife, Danielle? It is known that they had a stormy relationship; Sam had assaulted her as his coke addiction returned. Forensic detectives find traces of blood in the basement and then the entire corpse, dismembered, the parts hidden behind a false wall and packed in boxes, each of the parts wrapped and doused in gasoline. The victim’s identity is discovered through prints to be a prostitute named Maggie Karer. The dismemberment, “defensive mutilation,” is calculated and deliberate, and the detectives wonder: Are there more victims?
Following an investigation led by veteran homicide detective Peter Abi Rashed, who had once chased a young Sam Pirrera on the streets of Hamilton’s east end many years before, Vanished takes us behind the scenes of a grisly real-life case and its shocking outcome.