Reviewing Beal’s blast records, Whelan noticed “frequent and regular” calls amid Dzurlic and Beal until the day she disappeared. A band recovered from Beal’s answering apparatus independent letters and recorded conversations that acicular to a passionate, yet troubled, tryst. “In my abode we [expletive],” Dzurlic said during one call. “Now we are activity to [expletive] in your house.” On Sept. 13, Dzurlic larboard bristles messages, argumentation for Beal to acknowledgment his call. “It articulate like he was accepting added and added bashed as the day was activity on,” Whelan recalled.
“Smajo causes me so abundant sorrow,” Beal told Dzurlic’s sister, Muzafera Klicic, aloof canicule afore she was killed. “Nobody in my activity anytime aching me so bad.”
By backward September, Whelan’s analysis had angry into a coursing for Dzurlic. A acquaintance appear aftermost seeing Dzurlic on Sept. 15, afore he and his third wife, a adolescent woman alleged Sadija Agovic, “went to the abundance and never came back.” About that time, Dzurlic apprenticed a Bronx-based architecture foreman to beach and refinish the floors of his house. Aback the job was done and the antithesis owed, however, Dzurlic was gone; the architect took Dzurlic’s living-room appliance as payment.
Dzurlic grew up in Plav, a Muslim-majority boondocks in what was southern Yugoslavia, abreast the Albanian border. He immigrated to New York Burghal in the bounce of 1971 with his aboriginal wife and three children, alive canicule as a auto disciplinarian and nights as a doorman. There were run-ins with the law. In 1974, he pleaded accusable to attempted annihilation afterwards battlefront a pistol at a doubtable home intruder. Eight years later, he exhausted a banal in Midtown with a billy because the man banged the roof of his cab in abundant traffic. Afresh Dzulric’s additional wife, Zinka, accused him of throwing her out a five-story window. Aback they separated, Mary Beal translated the proceedings.
Legal troubles notwithstanding, Dzurlic never let on that he was cerebration about abrogation the United States. He had afresh fatigued a accommodation for a brace of Ford taxis and their admired medallions, leasing one car and active the added himself, and he fabricated his account payments on time. In June 1990, he alike bought a row abode in the Bronx, breadth he lived with Agovic, his third wife. Beal brokered the sale.
Four months afterwards the debris accoutrements appeared, Whelan got a accreditation to chase Dzurlic’s Bronx residence. There was a accumulation of mail abreast the entrance. Dishes awash the kitchen sink. A knife adequate on the breakfast table amid two canteen ashtrays. The crime-scene techs went to work. Accepting sprayed the abode with luminol, they activate traces of claret on the kitchen bank and on two atramentous debris bags. Lab after-effects showed that the claret was “consistent” with Beal’s, admitting argumentative technology at the time precluded them from actuality added precise. And afterwards any aggregation to abetment in architecture a case or the aboriginal angle of Dzurlic’s whereabouts, the D.A.’s appointment autonomous adjoin acute charges.
Years passed. Whelan left, and addition detective, Thomas Hickey, took over the case. In 1994, Hickey interviewed Agovic, Dzurlic’s conflicting third wife, over the phone. Agovic, who was active in Belgium at the time, denied any immediate ability of Beal’s death. But she claimed that Dzurlic’s sister, Muzafera Klicic, had beatific a letter absolute Dzurlic as the murderer. So Hickey agape at Klicic’s aperture in the Bronx and threatened to arrest her unless she talked. Klicic afterwards appeared afore a admirable board and recalled, beneath oath, that on the morning of Sept. 14, 1990, Dzurlic came to her abode and announced, “There will be no added Mary.”
Klicic asked what he meant. Dzurlic said Beal was “sleeping” in his house.
“How can she be sleeping in your abode aback she has her own place?”
“She is dead.”
“How did she die?”
Dzurlic accepted to his sister that he had hit Beal over the arch with a hammer.
Finally, on Jan. 18, 1995, Kings County answerable Dzurlic with murder. The botheration was award him. He had lived in Belgium for some time, admitting no one — not the New York Badge Department, Interpol, the Belgian police, Europol or the F.B.I. — knew his whereabouts. Belgian admiral insisted that Dzurlic had alternate to the above Yugoslavia, but the civilian war there larboard authorities far too absent to abetment with an American manhunt.
Almost 10 years went by. Whelan and Hickey had connected aback retired when, in 2004, James Osorio, a detective from the department’s Algid Case Squad, reopened the book acquisitive that alpha eyes ability advance to something. Osorio contacted the F.B.I. for advice about Dzurlic, but he didn’t get far. “There was no almanac of Smajo,” he told me. “He appealing abundant vanished.”
In aboriginal November 2006 an F.B.I. abettor alleged Mike Clarke looked beyond a baby basin 10 afar northwest of Tirana, Albania, while a brace of defined rummaged through the addled water. Two weeks earlier, badge responded to a address of commodity abnormal bobbing on the surface. The commodity was a changeable anatomy part. The badge ultimately activate aggregate but the woman’s hands. Afterward an bootless chase for a culprit, Albanian board requested advice from Americans at the embassy, as they sometimes do on difficult cases. The Albanians had afresh credible addition aggregation of anatomy parts, and they didn’t appetite to acquisition a third. “They believed this was a consecutive killer,” Clarke says.
Clarke, who was an athletic-looking 44, absolved forth the water’s edge. Beforehand that year, he accustomed in the Balkans as the F.B.I.’s aboriginal Sofia-based acknowledged attaché, amenable for all of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. The majority of his assignment complex counterterrorism and organized-crime cases. But there was a cadaverous aspect to this abomination arena that bent his attention.
Clarke visited the antipathy next. He apprenticed accomplished that he wouldn’t accumulate any insights from the corpse: doctors had stitched the anatomy aback calm and afield absorbed the legs, so that the appropriate limb was anchored to the larboard hip socket, and carnality versa. And the antipathy lacked refrigeration, so the anonymous anatomy was alpha to decompose. Clarke alleged F.B.I. address to ask for help. There was no credible U.S. connection, he admitted, but allowance the Albanians on the case would actualize acceptable will central their government that he could one day advantage to anatomy organized-crime cases or accompany agitation investigations. Three agents — a forensics specialist accomplished with accumulation graves in Kosovo and two profilers from the F.B.I.’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, or B.A.U. — landed in Tirana bristles canicule later. (The B.A.U. and its sister organization, the Behavioral Sciences Unit, were created to assay “unusual, camp and repetitive” bent acts; Jodie Foster played one of these profilers in “The Silence of the Lambs.”)
The four agents set out the abutting morning. Gary Reinecke, the forensics expert, despaired at award the basin bank blowzy with cigarette butts and crisscrossed with annoy tracks. “Any concrete affirmation that ability accept been actuality is lost,” he told Clarke. At the morgue, Craig Ackley and Dan Bermingham, from the B.A.U., advised the anatomy as if it were an abstruse painting — “What does this say? What does this appearance me?” — to try to get central the perpetrator’s head. They all eventually accomplished the aforementioned acute assessment. “You don’t apperceive who the victim is, you don’t accept a abomination arena roped off, you don’t accept an autopsy, you don’t apperceive the area,” Ackley told me. “Developing a doubtable out of that is about impossible.”
At Tirana’s Sheraton auberge that evening, Clarke fielded suggestions. Reinecke recommended aircraft the anatomy aback to the United States, breadth he could align for a able dissection and potentially apprentice commodity about the woman. Ackley and Bermingham backed the idea.
Clarke phoned address afresh and got permission to booty the abnormal footfall of alteration the anonymous anatomy aback to Washington. The abutting day he purchased a lead-lined casket for $5,000, placed the anatomy central and paid a welder to allowance the casket shut, per airline regulations. On Nov. 17, he watched the arena aggregation amount the casket into the burden bay of an Austrian Airlines flight, apprenticed for Dulles Airport.
Four canicule afterwards abiding from Albania, Craig Ackley was aback in his appointment cat-and-mouse for a brace of cold-case detectives from the New York Badge Department to arrive. (Besides acknowledging F.B.I. investigations, the B.A.U. additionally advises accompaniment and bounded authorities on their added afflictive cases.) Ackley connected advertent the Albanian murder. The dissection after-effects adumbrated that the woman died from blunt-force agony to the aback of the arch and was burst post-mortem, but Ackley still didn’t apperceive abundant to activate abstraction a contour of a suspect.
The assassination detectives arrived, accompanied by a brace of agents from the F.B.I.’s New York office, and Ackley led the accumulation into the B.A.U. appointment room. A few hours later, aback the accumulation bankrupt for coffee and bagels, one detective, James Osorio, overheard Ackley discussing his cruise to Albania and disconnected the conversation. “I ambition I would accept known,” Osorio said. “I accept a avoiding on a case that I anticipate is over in that area.”
Ackley asked what the avoiding was capital for. “Murder,” Osorio said. He acquired the capacity of the Mary Beal case — the dismemberment, the artificial bags, the surgical cuts — and offered his anticipation that the key suspect, Smajo Dzurlic, had connected aback fled the United States and was active about in the Balkans. Osorio additionally declared a adventurous of baffling murders that took abode about the Belgian burghal of Mons in 1996 and 1997, abreast the time Dzurlic was active in Belgium. Anniversary of those crimes featured burst changeable victims.
“You’re badinage me,” Ackley said. He declared the basin and the victim in Albania. “What are the allowance of that?”
The draft of the allowance watched in disbelief, apprehensive if they were on to a drifting consecutive killer. “It’s so attenuate to accept the befalling to assignment up one of these cases,” Barbara Daly, one of the New York F.B.I. agents present, recalled. Ackley phoned Clarke, the F.B.I. agent, to let him apperceive what had appear of the accommodation in Albania. “Now we had a New York nexus,” Clarke told me. “The F.B.I. had an interest. It was off to the races.”
Having amid Dzurlic’s birthplace, Plav, on a map of Montenegro, Clarke searched about for a point person, a bounded law administration official with whom he could alike the F.B.I.’s investigation. “I’d like to say that there’s some superdatabase, Interpol or something, but it actually comes bottomward to claimed relationships, developing assurance amid badge officers,” Clarke told me. He scanned the almanac of all-embracing cops who had abounding the F.B.I. academy in Virginia and activate a adolescent Montenegrin alum on the rolls. His name was Miodrag Stijovich, bigger accepted to his classmates as Miki.
Clarke accomplished Podgorica, a charmless burghal comprised of Communist-era accommodation blocks, in the afternoon. Over coffee, he handed Miki a file, which included a digitally added account of Dzurlic, aback the Americans hadn’t apparent a photo of him in added than 15 years. Miki apprenticed abounding through it and declared, “If he’s here, we’ll acquisition him.” Canicule later, Miki contacted Clarke with acceptable news: a surveillance aggregation had tracked bottomward addition analogous Dzurlic’s description. The alone was active in the admiral accommodation of a multifamily home in Podgorica. He wore a Yankees cap, collection a auto for a few hours every morning and tended to his fig, angel and orange copse in the afternoon. There was aloof one discrepancy; the man went by the name Smajlje Tulja.
Before the badge fabricated a move, Clarke capital affidavit — fingerprints alluringly — that they had the appropriate guy. Miki activate one on book from Tulja’s ID agenda appliance and beatific it to the F.B.I.’s fingerprint database in West Virginia, breadth Dzurlic’s prints were stored from his stateside arrests. On Feb. 8, Clarke’s buzz rang in the average of the night. The prints lined up.
Since the displacement accord amid Montenegro and the United States does not administer to Montenegrin citizens, Clarke and his colleagues were affected to counterbalance several options. One was to allurement Dzurlic out of Montenegro on a apocryphal apriorism and arrest him in a country from which he could be extradited. They acclimatized instead on exoteric prosecution, breadth Montenegro would arraign Dzurlic according to its own acknowledged procedures and sentencing guidelines for the crimes he allegedly committed in New York. Aloof two weeks afterwards Clarke abreast Miki, on a cold, airy night in February 2007, about two dozen Montenegrin policemen fanned out about the terra-cotta-topped bank that amidst Dzurlic’s house. A aggregation of plainclothes admiral scaled the aluminum access arch to the entrance. One of the admiral rapped on the door. No one answered. He agape again.
Dzurlic came to the aperture acid a blooming zip-up sweater and jeans. The admiral spun him about and abandoned him, afresh streamed into the accommodation to chase the premises. Afterwards an hour, they brought Dzurlic alfresco and put him into the aback bench of a convoying car.
While the Montenegrin prosecutors abounding through endless of old badge files from New York, Clarke probed the baffling murders in Albania and Belgium. He couldn’t get over the similarities amid the annihilation of Mary Beal, the homicides in Belgium and the victim from Albania. Bristles months afterwards Dzurlic’s arrest, Clarke flew to Belgium, forth with Craig Ackley and Dan Bermingham from the B.A.U. They capital to altercate the achievability that Dzurlic was the actuality the Belgium columnist had coined le dépeceur de Mons, or the Butcher of Mons. Amid January 1996 and July 1997, bristles women were murdered and burst in the about of Mons, a bizarre burghal of about 100,000 bodies in southern Belgium. Ackley too had been analytical the adjustment of the cuts and the instruments used, and, like Clarke, activate the murders to be “very, actual similar.”
Soon afterwards the F.B.I. appointment accustomed at the badge base in Mons, Ackley bankrupt out his laptop and abreast the Belgian authorities on all these commonalities. The Belgians, however, were not persuaded. “The affair band was that Smajo Dzurlic was a ‘person of interest,’ ” Clarke told me. “They knew about Smajo and had a account of Smajo. They said they had done aggregate in their ability to try and put Smajo in Mons during the time anatomy of the murders but had appear up empty.” According to cables acquired through the Freedom of Advice Act, the Belgian badge believed Dzurlic had fled the country as aboriginal as June 1995 — six months afore the aboriginal annihilation occurred in Mons — aback his son angled him off that the Americans capital him in affiliation with Beal’s death. Aback Dzurlic was assuredly in custody, Belgian admiral were so assertive that he wasn’t the Butcher of Mons that they showed no absorption in analytic him about it. “The aisle of Dzurlic has been explored,” Dominique Francq, a prosecutor in Mons, told me. “Was he in Belgium? Yes. But not in Mons. If that was the case, he would now be in prison, and I would be bubbler Champagne.”
On March 19, 2008, Dzurlic entered the attorneys in Podgorica acid a aphotic amber clothing and a white dress shirt apart at the neck. He apprehend a account aloud that declared his chastity and declared his arrest as an F.B.I. conspiracy. “This is the biggest-ever bureaucracy by the F.B.I.,” he said. “They accept brought abundant abashment to my abutting and added abroad family. I repeat, I accept annihilation to do with her annihilation and I am not guilty.” Dzurlic sat aback down, belted by a brace of croaking bailiffs. He wouldn’t allege afresh for the butt of the trial.
Back in Brooklyn, Jon Besunder, the advance assassination prosecutor for the Kings County commune attorney’s office, corralled aggregation to affirm via videoconference. One by one, neighbors, ancestors members, landlords and advisers of Dzurlic’s and Beal’s awkward into a baby appointment allowance in the Kings County courthouse, adverse a distinct video camera, their statements advertisement over a sometimes down-covered affiliation into a attorneys 4,600 afar away. John Figueroa, Beal’s nephew and the aboriginal witness, told the board that Beal’s annihilation had “deteriorated the fabric” of his family. “To acquisition out one of her daughters was burst and her easily and arch will never be found?” Figueroa told me. “That appealing abundant destroyed my grandmother.”
Agovic, Dzurlic’s third wife, testified by video from a boondocks in eastern Belgium afterwards an F.B.I. abettor and a Belgian cop tracked her down. Aback asked what she knew about the murder, Agovic claimed that Muzafera Klicic, Dzurlic’s sister, told her that Dzurlic “made some problem.” The adjudicator asked if “some problem” meant killing Beal. “Something like that,” Agovic replied.
Dzurlic’s lawyer, meanwhile, formed to accomplishment a procedural artifice that would absolved Klicic, the prosecution’s key witness, from accepting to allege in court. In Montenegro, abutting ancestors associates of a actor can arm-twist a acknowledged advantage answer them from testifying, a convenance not accustomed in the United States. Ultimately, Klicic showed up in actuality in Podgorica and acclimatized the absolution clause. The development beatific Besunder, who had been afterward the case for about two decades, into a panic. Afterwards Klicic, whose grand-jury statements formed the base of the longstanding accreditation for Dzurlic’s arrest, the board console had alone bags of amplified affirmation and apprehensive behavior about the time Beal’s anatomy was discovered. “Did anybody see my ancestor annihilate Mary Beal?” said Selman Dzurlic, Smajo’s son. “Do we accept a attestant like that?”
A five-member console of board began its deliberations on June 22, 2010, about 20 years afterwards Beal’s death. (In Montenegro, like abounding added European countries, an investigating judge, abutting by addition adjudicator and three “lay” judges, aggregate the jury.) Dzurlic faced a best amends of 15 years for the annihilation and six months for the 14 bullets badge activate aback they searched his house. The console deliberated for 10 canicule afore filing aback into the courtroom, breadth the authoritative adjudicator rose and apprehend the accepted accommodation aloud: accusable on all counts. Dzurlic accustomed a book of four months for the bullets, a 100 euro accomplished for cloister fees and 12 years for murder. He didn’t avoid as the adjudication was actuality read.
Montenegro’s capital penitentiary sits in a attenuated basin bristles afar northwest of Podgorica. I accustomed at the bastille on a clammy winter morning aftermost year. A alpine bouncer in a fleet dejected jumpsuit escorted me into a visiting allowance able with a Samsung television and a kitchenette.
Smajo Dzurlic, who is now 71, confused into the room, his wrists and ankles unbound. He wore a amber argyle V-neck sweater, and his arch almost came up to the guard’s chest. “Do I attending alarming to you?” he asked, as we sat beside anniversary added at the end of a long, ellipsoidal table. “They ample I was some big man, like Son of Sam or something,” Dzurlic said in decayed English. “But they gave me time for no reason. I’m not a murderer. Not a assassin whatsoever.”
Dzurlic’s lawyer, Drasko Djukanovic, told me that he had already appealed to the above court. “After the above court,” he said, “I will address to the built-in court, and afterwards that I will address to Strasbourg” — the armpit of the European Cloister of Human Rights, Europe’s arch appellate court. The address questions the antecedent of the claret activate in Dzurlic’s kitchen, suggesting that it could accept been from Beal’s accidentally acid herself on a antecedent appointment rather than an on-site butchering. It additionally emphasized that there was no witness. (Dzurlic’s adolescent brother told me that Muzafera Klicic, his sister, testified afore the admirable board alone afterwards actuality “psychologically tortured.”)
Dzurlic’s anamnesis went in and out during our conversation. One minute he recalled specific times and Manhattan intersections breadth he had been aback cardinal episodes occurred; the abutting minute, aback discussing contest in September 1990, the ages Beal was murdered, he forgot basal activity facts, like whether or not he was anytime actually affiliated to Agovic. Afresh he claimed not to booze alcohol, admitting references throughout the badge book to the contrary, a photograph of him and Beal sitting on the couch with a canteen adjacent and a D.W.I. arrest in 1985. “That was a setup, and I didn’t appetite to blow,” he said. “I was agitated and I didn’t appetite to blow. Definitely, that was a setup.”
I asked him about his accord with Beal. Dzurlic, who has a astringent underbite, listened attentively while his jaw jerked ancillary to side, and he seemed to be gnawing on his tongue. Dzurlic’s advocate maintained throughout the balloon that Beal brokered the auction of Dzurlic’s home but declared that his client’s accord with her concluded there. “Nothing abroad I had to do with her,” Dzurlic told me. I apprehend off affirmation suggesting otherwise: buzz records, transcripts from taped conversations, neighbors who saw the two of them calm and the photograph of them sitting on the couch. “Once I bought the abode from her, O.K., we came closer,” he conceded. “She helped me to abode my accouchement with my sister” — the aftereffect of the aegis action — “and I account her for that. But I accept annihilation to do with her more.”
I pushed him on the bawdy buzz chat captured on Beal’s answering machine, breadth Dzurlic proposes that he and Beal accept sex in her house, aback they already did in his.
“That’s not me,” Dzurlic said. “That’s fabricated up. That’s not me. No, no, no. That’s actually not true.”
Knowing that Dzurlic had never been questioned about the murders in Mons, I asked him whether he asleep the women there. He stared aback at me for nine actual connected seconds. “Do you anticipate I did that?” he said. “Shame on them, whoever is adjoin me for the murder. You apperceive that the cab disciplinarian in New York is the best aggressive in the world? You apperceive about that? Anticipate of the cab disciplinarian who go to annihilate somebody like that! I would be out of my apperception absolutely. They accused me for 13 peoples. All ladies. But they never captive me for 13. For Mary Beal, they captive me. That was a trick, annihilation else. Poor Mary Beal. I feel apologetic for her.”
Dzurlic was growing irritated, and I sensed his backbone active out. (He had warned me earlier, through a guard, that the account would end if he didn’t like my questions.) So I asked him, if he was not the monstrous, drifting consecutive analgesic that the New York Badge Department and F.B.I. fabricated him out to be, how could he explain the annihilation in New York Burghal of a woman he knew intimately, followed by the auctioning of bristles women in Belgium in agnate fashion, followed, yet again, by the afterlife of a woman in Albania about the time he lived there? Was he artlessly a victim of bad luck?
“It’s odd,” Dzurlic replied with a shrug. He was cutting his teeth, attractive as if he capital to add commodity more. Afresh he placed his duke on my larboard wrist and mused that maybe this aisle of bodies was “destiny.”
Destiny? I asked him what that could possibly mean.
“My destiny,” he said. “It’s to be accused.”
An commodity on Page 26 this weekend about the annihilation of a New York woman and the consecutive chase for her analgesic in Europe misspells allotment of the name of a artery in the Bronx abreast breadth she lived. It is Mosholu Parkway, not Moshulu.
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