The Killer Novelist Caught by His Own Book
Remember that thief who flashed the stolen cash on Facebook? This is the high-brow version.
By his mid-thirties, Dariusz Janiszewski had built a joyful and respectable life for himself. He was known as a gentle soul who played the guitar and owned a small advertising agency downtown. He was happily married. The couple was working towards adopting a child.
Nobody could believe it when Dariusz's body was found in the Oder River, a noose encircling his neck. His hands were bound behind his back. He appeared to have been starved and tortured for several days. Investigators determined that Dariusz was still alive when his body was dumped in the river, and he ultimately drowned to death.
Dariusz's young widow was too distraught to complete the identification process. That task fell to his mother, who immediately recognized him by a unique birthmark.
An investigation was carried out by the local police. Unfortunately, their efforts produced no credible leads. His family hung a cross on an oak tree by the river and tried to move forward. The Dariusz Janiszewski case ran cold.
Years later, a detective named Jacek Wroblewski came across the file. Perhaps it was Jacek's proximity to the victim's age, the brutality of the crime, or Jacek's strong moral compass - whatever the reason, Dariusz's killing struck a chord. Jacek set out to conduct an intensive review.
Jacek immediately confirmed the personal nature of the crime. No money was stolen. The killing was needlessly violent. Dariusz had been stripped nearly nude in a show of humiliation. Whoever had done this wanted Dariusz to suffer.
Who would have had such a visceral hatred for this man, though? By all accounts, Dariusz led a quietly productive life. He had no debts. He had no known enemies. His business dealings were clean. Dariusz was a creature of habitual kindness.
Jacek knew he would have to dig deeper.
He started pouring through the victim's business dealings, and came across one small anomaly. When Dariusz met with clients outside of the office, he usually drove himself. However, when he went missing, his car was still parked at his workplace. The last time he was seen alive, it was by his receptionist. She reported watching him exit the office to meet with a client.
Dariusz had to have left with his murderer.
In reviewing his business dealings, Jacek found only one client new enough not to have established a paper trail. A man had called that very morning, refusing to leave much information with his secretary and demanding to speak with Dariusz directly. Jacek traced the call. It was found to have come from a nearby public phone.
The same phone, Jacek discovered, had also called Dariusz's cell phone.
After hitting another dead end, Jacek decided to pour deeper into Dariusz's cell phone records. Although the call logs revealed little, they were able to trace the serial number of the phone itself. It had been sold on an online auction site. The seller, who Jacek reasoned had likely acquired the phone at a pawn shop, was a thirty-year-old intellectual named Krystian Bala. Jacek did not yet consider him a suspect. Selling Dariusz's property online, after all, did not align with the other meticulous precautions taken by the killer.
Nevertheless, Jacek wanted to learn more. Krystian had left Poland, and was not readily available to interview with early 2000's technology. Still, there was plenty of information available. Krystian Bala was known as a rebellious genius. He was drawn to subversive ideas and malleable interpretations of morality and truth. He often boasted to his friends that he was "capable of anything".
Also...he had authored this book.
The novel, Amok, had been written shortly after Dariusz's death. It turned out to be just the breakthrough Jacek had been looking for. Amok was the sadistic and pornographic tale of a senseless murder - a murder with stunning similarities to Dariusz's death. Some of these similarities had not been released to the public. Many were psychological.
Krystian had been caught...but Jacek couldn't truly prove it yet. After all, the book was a work of fiction. The evidence it taunted them with was purely circumstantial.
Jacek had, however, found a guide.
Shortly after returning to Poland, Krystian was brought in for questioning. He vehemently denied any connection to Dariusz. Polygraph tests were inconclusive, although it was noted that Krystian engaged in breath exercises throughout in a clear attempt to temper his physiological responses.
Police accrued more circumstantial evidence - internet activity suggesting Krystian had researched the methods used in this murder, as well as evidence he was keeping tabs on the investigation during his travels abroad. Even the motive was clear, but tenuous. Dariusz had been spotted at a nightclub speaking with Krystian's estranged wife, Stasia. She confirmed that, although Krystian accused her of sleeping with Dariusz (and nearly every other man she came across), nothing of the sort had happened. The two had merely engaged in flirtatious conversation and went their separate ways.
Still, those facts are chilling when juxtaposed with the last line of Amok: “This was the one killed by blind jealousy.”
Thankfully, the evidence - circumstantial, but overwhelming - was enough for a jury to convict Krystian to a 25-year prison sentence. When contacted by reporters, Krystian was primarily interested in telling them about his new book, which he began writing as he researched Stasia's latest boyfriend, Harry.
As Krystian allegedly whispered to one reporter, “This book is going to be even more shocking.”
About the Creator
Robyn Reisch spends her days cooking, writing, and raising three gorgeous little hooligans. She is married to the world's greatest man.
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