Twenty years ago, in August 1989, East Village police began hearing rumors of a gruesome crime: A person had been killed, the body dismembered and boiled into soup—then the soup fed to unsuspecting homeless people in Tompkins Square Park.
Rakowitz was charged with murdering and dismembering the body of his girlfriend, 26-year-old Monika Beerle. The murder was committed in Rakowitz’s tenement building at 700 Avenue C, on the corner of Ninth Street.
Though he denied killed Beerle, a Swiss resident studying dance who supported herself as a topless dancer (gritty old Billy’s Topless on 24th Street, according to some accounts), he admitted to chopping her corpse, bleaching her bones, and hiding her body.
In 1991, Rakowitz was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was sent to a maximum-security psychiatric facility on Ward’s Island, where he still lives today.