But little more than passing interest was aroused on Thursday of last week, June 11, when it become known around town that the body of a man had been found afloat in the river at this place, such thing not being unusual in this country where so many people travel by small boat. But when it was stated that the body was trussed between poles, the affair assumed a different phase.
That nothing, no matter how insignificant, ever gets past the Royal Northwest Mounted Police, is bourne out by the noble record of that body of men, not only in Yukon, but elsewhere and wherever the "Law Bringers" of the North are known. The floater here was no exception. Captain Acland, commanding the force here, at once detailed Sergeant L. McLauchlan on the case. A coroner's jury, Police Magistrate Taylor as acting coroner, was at once empanneled composed of the following residents: C. H. Johnston, H.
Eskrigge, O. Dickson, C. W. Cash, Geo. Wilson, R. B. Hyett. The jury viewed the body and adjourned subject to developments which, with Sergeant McLauchlan at work, were not long in maturing.
TELLTALE CLOTHES AND KEYS
On the body of the dead man was found clothing such as is sold at the store of J. R. Alguire at the Pueblo mine. In a pocket of the clothes were found two door keys. Inquiry revealed that a miner formerly employed at the mine had rented a flat in the Bissler house from the agent, Captain P. Martin. The house was visited, the keys were tried and found to fit the two doors of the flat. Investigation also showed that two Italians had occupied the flat until sometime after the first of February when one of them
disappeared and was supposed to have gone over the trail toward Dawson. Between the 10th and 20th of February the other Italian left for Dawson, pulling a handsled. The first one to disappear had an open account at both the A. T. Co. store and Alguire's, the latter at the mine. He was not seen at either place after February 4.
IDENTIFICATION IS COMPLETE
The first thing attempted by the police was to establish the identity of the dead man beyond all question. This was not hard to accomplish. Other Italians from the mine were called upon. They minutely described features and scars on the body of Dominico
Melis as they had known him in life. A fire in a coal mine in which he had been employed had scarred his face, chest and one leg. These scars were clearly apparent and were pointed out by the witnesses to the jury and coroner, the nature and character of the scars being professionally attested by the medical men in attendance and who conducted the post mortem.
DR. GABIE CALLED FROM SKAGWAY
While Dr. W. B. Clarke of this place had the post mortem of the body in
charge, he requested assistance and consultation which the police provided by wiring Dr. W. G. Gabie of Skagway, who arrived on Monday's train and who verified all the findings and conclusions reached by Dr. Clarke. The two doctors worked in the post mortem until a late hour Monday night and nearly all day Tuesday. On the latter date Photographer Hamacher was called in and made five different pictures of the wounds of the body after they had been laid bare by the medical men.
WAS EVIDENTLY CLUBBED TO DEATH
The post mortem revealed that the scull had been broken into many pieces, one side of the jawbone and nine ribs broken, the doctors testifying that such was evidently accomplished, possibly by an ax, but more likely by a club such as a baseball bat or a heavy bottle. There is evidence that the head was given many blows, any one of which, both doctors asserted, would have produced death.
THEORY AS TO DISPOSITION OF BODY
It is not believed the murder was premeditated or for the purpose of robbery, the latter being out of the question as Melis was known to be practically out of money. Rather, it is believed to have resulted from a drunken quarrel in which the murderer became a veritable gladiator. Having killed Melis, the revelers realized the seriousness of what they had done and set about to conceal their crime by disposing of the body. Naturally the river offered the best place of concealment and to the river it was taken, the poles in which the body was trussed being no doubt used to aid in carrying it. It is now believed that the body was carried to near the Whitehorse Rapids and there cached between or under some of the immense pieces of ice which remained piled up in the vicinity of the rapids after the river closed and the ice jammed until it was from ten to
eighteen feet high in many places near the rapids. That the body remained there practically in cold storage until the ice melted and the water raised sufficient to wash it out and carry it down the river eight days ago is plausible. The fact that the rubber in the sleeve-holders on the victim's arms was as good us new when the body was found, is conclusive evidence that it had been in the water but a short time. This, with other conditions of the body, bear out the theory that it was cached in heavy ice when disposed of.
(In this connection, the Star is requested to ask all persons who photographed the huge ice cakes at and near the rapids or elsewhere on the river this spring, to favor the police with copies of the pictures taken in order that they may be used in court in proving the condition of the river and ice at the time the body is supposed to have been hidden away.)
VERDICT OF CORONER'S JURY
After hearing the evidence of Drs Clarke and Gabie, as well as that of a number of other witnesses, including miners and others employed at the Pueblo mine who had known Melis while working there, the coroner's jury concluded its investigations Wednesday evening and returned a verdict, the substance of which is that Dominico Melis came to his death by violence at the hands of some party or parties to the jury unknown. Coroner Taylor thanked the members of the jury for their zealous efforts in investigating the case and dismissed them from further service.
SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN DAWSON
Descriptions of the Italian Caesari, the room mate of Melis in the Bissler house, and of a man named Ganley, who is known to have associated with the two Italians considerably during the winter, having been wired to Dawson, both men were taken into custody at that place on Wednesday and will be brought back here on an early steamer. Caesari and Ganley both left here over the trail and on foot within a few days after Dominico Melis was last seen alive. It is confidently believed by the police that they can throw some light on the cause of the latter's death.
GOOD WORK OF THE POLICE
Too much ¢redit cannot be given the police, Captain Acland and Sergeant McLauchlan, for the very perfect and systematic manner in which they have so far conducted the case, the latter having shown remarkable skill in framing a network of evidence which gives every promise of solving what at first looked to be a complex mystery, but which is being worked out by a process of simple addition and wise deduction. The people of Whitehorse are not sparing in their praise of the manner in which the case is being handled and they feel that the final solution of the mystery is not far distant.
The body of Melis, which is in charge of Undertaker J. D. Durie, will not be buried until an order is issued from the court to that effect.
MEN IN CUSTODY MAKE ADMISSIONS
Special to the Star
DAWSON, June 18. - Romollio Caesari and George Ganley were arrested here
yesterday and charged with the murder of Dominico Melis at Whitehorse in February. They admit that they were partners of the murdered man. They will probably be taken to Whitehorse soon for preliminary hearing.