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Episode 91 Viola Hyatt and the Alabama Torso Murders

In June 1959, the discovery of two dismembered torsos terrified residents in North Alabama. The unknown victims were dubbed Mr. X and Mr. Y until a tip led investigators to a farm where they met the woman behind one of Alabama’s grisliest crimes

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On the afternoon of June 28th, 1959, a torso was discovered near an abandoned house near Attalla, Alabama. The following day, another torso was found about eleven miles away, in Whitney Junction.

Over the next few days, there would be reports of body parts scattered across three counties.

Authorities couldn’t identify the murder victims and with no ID, there would be no leads in the case for weeks. 

Sketches of Torso Victims Printed in Alabama papers

The remains were called “Mr. X” and “Mr. Y” until an artist created sketches from what remained of the victims’ faces and the drawings were printed in Alabama newspapers. 

A tip led investigators to a farm where they met the woman behind one of the grisliest crimes in Alabama history 

Viola Hyatt Photo: Family Collection
Murder victims Emmett and Lee Harper Photo: Family Collection 


Hyatt Family Tree Index. http://www.hyattfamily.co.uk/docs/Viola%20Hyatt/

Drawings Were Sure to Break Torso Case. The Birmingham News. July 17, 1959

Mr. X and Mr. Y Source Materials. Jacksonville State University Digital Commons Special Collections. 1959

Redeemed in the Valley. The Anniston Star. January 14, 2009

Notorious ‘Torso Murders’ blood trail revealed in AL.com Vintage photos. Al.com February 11, 2016.


Despair and Triumph, Lost Time and Brethren Arise by Kevin MacLeod. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. The Dark Glow of the Mountains by Chris Zabriske, Meditation 1 by Audionautix, Spirit of Fire by Jesse Gallager. Licensed under a Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use.