“It is our belief his body was dumped out there, and whoever the person or persons were, knew the area. And they knew people go back there and ride dirt bikes and kids play back there, so they knew that eventually within a certain amount of time… that he would be found” – Robert Carras
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29, 1981
Thursday morning, the homeless man appeared back at the record store. Judy isn’t at work yet, the man instructed a nearby merchant to give a bouquet of flowers to her. There was an accompanying note that read “Roses are red, the sky is blue. They found him dead, and they’ll find you, too.” The police picked the man up and questioned him, finding him to be of no harm, they released him. He was never seen from again.
Kurt’s autopsy was performed by Lester Adelson, Chief Deputy Coroner of Cuyahoga County. The autopsy determined Kurt had been dead 24-36 hours before his body was found, meaning he was alive for at least three days after leaving the party. The coroner could not determine an official cause of death. Kurt Sova had no preexisting medical conditions, no drugs were found in the autopsy, and he didn’t have enough alcohol in his system to kill him. Deputy Coroner Adelson cites this as “Diagnosis by exclusion.”
David Trunsnik, one of Kurt’s close friends, came forward and claimed to have seen Kurt three days after he had disappeared, less than a mile from Kurt’s house. David witnessed Kurt walking with another individual, as he gained ground on the distance between the two of them walking — David saw a van pull up, and Kurt yell out “Franko!” Kurt entered the van and was never seen from again.
The investigation did get a new lead, a local by the name of Angeline Reddicks stated she saw two males dragging what looked like to be an unconscious teenage male toward the ravine. This account was never relayed to the Sova family and only came to their attention when they ran into Angeline and sparked a conversation. She waited to give a statement out-of-fear but finally talked to the sheriff’s department in 1989 but never heard back. She stated “I seen them taking a boy down the alley. It was just before Halloween,” said Reddicks, who said she witnessed the scene one afternoon from a window in her house on Washington Park Blvd. “One foot was barefoot. I’m almost sure it was the right one. I figured – “Couple teenagers with a couple beers too many and they’re probably trying to sober up.”
Although the Unsolved Mysteries episode showed a reenactment of a crime scene in which photographs were taken of Kurt’s crucified position, none of the actual crime scene were documented; the only Polaroid pictures consisted of Kurt on the stretcher and in the ambulance. The police never searched the duplex and no request was made to nearby Cleveland PD for assistance in the investigation; an inquiry from Cleveland PD was turned away by Newburgh Heights PD according to Dorothy Sova. Four different agencies (Cuyahoga Sheriff’s Department, F.B.I., Newburgh Heights PD, Cleveland PD) looked into the case and found no new leads. Eighteen months after Kurt’s death, a Cleveland Police Detective Al Figler looking into the case found the handling of crime-scene by Newburgh PD to be a “joke“. Missing paperwork, lack of evidence, and forthcoming witnesses plagued the cold case.
The investigation is also tainted by former Detective Robert Carras and Newburgh Heights Police Chief James F. Lukas. Robert Carras pleaded guilty to striking Eric Kotonski of Newburgh Heights with a flashlight during a drunken driving arrest in December 1990; kicking John Rogers of Cleveland as Rogers lay handcuffed after a February 1989 abduction and harassment arrest; pulling Larry Villanueva’s hair during questioning about a February 1989 break-in; and striking Donal Geib across the face during the same interrogation. Carras was also convicted on drug and corruption charges. James Lukas who served as Newburgh Height’s Police Chief (1976-1984) falsified documents for a police dispatcher and was found to have a criminal history, including a conviction for dereliction of duty. Lukas has defended the Kurt Sova investigation, stating to The Plain Dealer newspaper in 1991:
“That’s not even fair. What happened was completely unrelated. That’s the only part I take offense to. That (Sova) case was handled on the up and up.” – James Lukas
The Assistant Prosecutor James A. Gutierrez for Cuyahoga County questioned Robert Carras in 1990 about his involvement in covering up the case and/or Kurt’s death. Nothing materialized and Carras eventually went silent regarding the investigation, refusing to be questioned by The Plain Dealer in 1991 and the Cuyahoga Sheriffs Department.
*The below statement is from the Associated Press:
“CLEVELAND (AP) _ A former police officer serving a 4 1/2 year prison term on drug charges pleaded guilty Monday to mistreating suspects.”
“Robert Carras, 41, of suburban Newburgh Heights originally pleaded innocent to five federal charges of kicking, hitting and pulling the hair of suspects. Carras pleaded guilty to the charges before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas D. Lambros, who sentenced him to a 51-month term concurrent with his drug sentence. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clarence Taylor said Carras changed his plea in exchange for the concurrent term. The former police officer was charged with brutalizing suspects in four separate incidents. Carras pleaded guilty to striking Eric Kotonski of Newburgh Heights with a flashlight during a drunken driving arrest in December 1990; kicking John Rogers of Cleveland as Rogers lay handcuffed after a February 1989 abduction and harassment arrest; pulling Larry Villanueva’s hair during questioning about a February 1989 break-in; and striking Donal Geib across the face during the same interrogation. He also pleaded guilty to handcuffing a Cleveland taxi driver, James Stipetich, to a hot radiator after a confrontation. Carras was convicted in December 1990 of 76 counts of aggravated drug trafficking and 76 counts of illegal processing of drug documents. Carras was convicted of forging prescriptions for Percocet, an addictive painkiller.”
January 1982 — Eugene Kvet is found dead under similar circumstances to Kurt Sova’s death and disappearance. His shoe was missing, and he was also found in a ravine; Eugene (14) was around the same age as Kurt.
Along with new articles, each investigation will be followed with a 45-minute episode including reenactments of key-scenes, commentary, and new evidence that’s exclusive to the research conducted at Project Astral. This series is entitled EXIT 9. We will reveal four theories at the end of the episode, and demonstrate the scenarios with actors and/or archive footage.
Kurt Sova/Eugene Kvet is episode 1 of our EXIT 9 docu-series and will be solely produced by Project Astral; the remaining cases are pending. If you enjoy our Kurt Sova investigation, please subscribe and join-in on our Patreon efforts for FUTURE EPISODES — or Donate directly to the website via the button below (all information is confidential and we appreciate all support).
What are the circumstances revolving around Eugene’s vanishing and murder? What color shirt was he wearing? Was his missing shoe found? What other elements pertain to the Kurt Sova Death? Who was Franko? These questions are answered in Part II.
This is an official PROJECT ASTRAL investigation.
– Press Graye