MISSING AND MURDERED IN THE MIDWEST: A podcast looking into crimes that made the headlines, starting in the Quad City area, and expanding throughout the Midwest. Podcast host and News 8 Executive Producer Toria Wilson, has dedicated her time into researching and looking back at stories News 8 has reported on, the murder cases that shocked us and the missing persons cases that left us with unanswered questions.
EPISODE 7: It was during the 1986 trial against Antonio Santamaria that he would be dubbed ‘The Butcher of Galesburg’.
The previous year, in August 1985, Antonio’s wife, Delia Santamaria, was ready to file for divorce. She told one of her six children she was planning on leaving her husband and their father. When their son later asked Antonio what he was going to do about it, he would tell his child he would rather kill himself and Delia, than get a divorce.
Antonio would then be seen working around the house, harder than ever before. He spent weeks working on digging a hole in the home’s basement floor and in the family’s garden. That sight was unusual to both family and nearby neighbors who had previously only seen Delia working in the garden.
Delia was last seen alive on August 10, 1985 after working a shift at the Applegate East Nursing home.
The next day, concerned co-workers called Antonio asking where his wife was. Antonio would only say that she had left to go to Chicago and hung up. On August 13, a missing persons report was filed and police obtained a search warrant for the home.
Galesburg police officers found half of Delia’s remains buried in the hole that was dug in the basement. The other half was placed in the garden outside.
Officers arrested Antonio and, two days later during his interrogation, he would admit to killing his wife of 26 years.
Antonio said early on August 11, Delia woke him up by standing over him with a knife in hand, leading to a struggle from his bedroom, to her bathroom. It was there, over the tub that Antonio would kill his wife and dismember her.
He would later take her internal organs and run them through a hand crank meat grinder and a food processor that he had purchased around the time of the murder.
When the meat grinder didn’t achieve what he was aiming for, Antonio would admit to chopping up the organs and flushing them down the toilet. He would later get a refund for the grinder telling the clerk at the local Sears, “his wife didn’t like it [the meat grinder].”
On this week’s episode we break down what led up to this grisly murder, the crime itself and why Antonio Santamaria was able to avoid the death penalty.
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COMING UP: Starting on October 28, 2019 ‘Missing and Murdered in the Midwest is breaking down not one, not two but FIVE episodes during the week of Halloween. All with a sort of “Halloween theme”. These cases, you won’t want to miss!