California Police Discover Skull of Man Who Killed Himself by Guillotine

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A Californian committed suicide with a makeshift guillotine in an unusual and macabre case that resulted in the arrest of a suspected squatter who police say tampered with human remains.

Police believe Robert Enger built the device, which was 20 feet long and dropped a large metal point rather than a blade, in his Santa Rosa home as early as 2019, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported. Neighbors told the newspaper that Enger was friendly and an “amazing craftsman,” who also struggled with mental health issues for many years.

But the nature of his death only became clear after a woman fell on a skull in the bushes near her brother’s house and reported it to police earlier this year.

Authorities ultimately determined that the skull, which bore scratch marks and a wire handle, was that of Enger. The 62-year-old was last seen alive in July 2019 when he was treated at a local hospital for a head injury which police now suspect was the result of an unsuccessful attempt to use the artisanal guillotine. Police believe he committed suicide using the device, but his remains, at least initially, were not discovered and his house was empty until a man named Robert Melvin Ross III starts squatting there in 2020.

Police allege Ross lived in the house with Enger’s remains for months and invited others to parties and use methamphetamine. Law enforcement has been called to the property on several occasions and said it was “dirty” and “filled with debris, trash, food, loads of stuff,” according to the Democrat Press. But they didn’t know that Enger’s remains were under the rubble.

In 2021, a man told police he attended a party on the property with Ross and saw what he believed to be the decomposed remains of a human. He said Ross at one point “started removing the skull” and scratched it with a knife, the newspaper reported. Police then tracked down Ross, who told them he found Enger’s body deep in the craft.

“Robert Enger got under this device, handled it, was killed, then his body was later handled by Robert Ross and others,” said Anthony Turner, a police violent crime detective. de Santa Rosa, to the Democratic press.

Ross has been charged with unauthorized entry into a dwelling and illegal handling of human remains and has made a clear plea for possession of a memento of human remains, but has since requested that this plea be withdrawn and said he signed it ” under duress, that is to say the contract is null and void ”.

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