First there was a hand and a portion of a leg, then a heart, lungs and other organs. By the end of the next day, April 14, 1939, most of a torso had been found as well, and Baltimore was in a frenzy. Who was doing this? Was there a mass murderer, a serial killer, on the loose? Were there any more grizzly surprises still to be found? The "Torso Murder" case gripped the city for days, as investigators scrambled to find who was responsible for leaving these body parts, all carefully wrapped in newspaper, in sewers, dumps and other places. Within a week, police had both their victim and their murderer. Evelyn Rice, 30, had moved into the home of Aurelio Marco Tarquinio, 45, an Italian immigrant and Sparrows Point steelworker who also operated a saloon. The two fought often, and one argument ended with Tarquinio pushing Rice down the basement stairs; she died when her head hit the cold concrete floor. Tarquinio turned the basement of his home into a dissecting chamber, cutting up the body and disposing of it piecemeal. A few days after the killing, after the body pieces had started turning up, Tarquinio turned up at a police station to report Rice missing. Suspicious police put a tail on him; a couple days later, when he casually mentioned to a neighbor that they'd never find the victim's head, he was arrested. On April 20, police found Rice's head, buried under a concrete slab in Tarquinio's backyard. He confessed early the next morning. Tarquinio served 15-and-a-half years for the crime; he was paroled from the Maryland Penitentiary in 1954. Rice's remains, except for her right hand, were cremated and returned to her family in Georgia. Her right hand was never found. For a 1939 news account of the "Torso Murder" case, read "Parts of girl's body found in 4 sewers
." Photo: In this 1939 photo, young Nicholas Krepner points into a sewer where one of Evelyn Rice's hands was found.