Third Buffalo Area Gang Victim Found


Police Link Death to Slaying Of 2 Brothers


North Tonawanda October 14, 1958— (UPI) — A 23-year-old Niagara Falls bricklayer who had been missing since last Wednesday was found slain today and police linked his death to the unsolved gangland slaying of two Buffalo brothers last month.


Three city policemen on night patrol discovered the body of Arthur DeLuca jammed in the trunk of his white 1957 Cadillac in a North Tonawanda used car lot.


He apparently had been strangled.


DeLuca's body was fully clothed and there was no evidence that he had struggled with his slayers. 


However, his topcoat and suit coat were pulled down over his shoulders as if to pin his arms to his sides.


The coroner said DeLuca "probably had been dead a couple of days." An autopsy was planned to determine the exact cause of death and whether the victim also had been shot.


With a pinchbar, police pried open the trunk of the Cadillac to uncover western New York's third gangland slaying in a month.


Still unsolved are the brutal slayings of brothers Fred and Frank Aquino, shadowy Buffalo underworld figures. Frank, 27, was found murdered in his automobile in Lackawanna while the mutilated, naked body of Fred. Aquino, 25, was discovered four days later in a Tonawanda field.


According to police, DeLuca and the Aquinos had been good friends.


DeLuca left his Niagara Falls home about 8 p. m. last Wednesday to keep an appointment in Buffalo. His wife, Arlene, reported his disappearance to police Saturday night.


She said he had received a mysterious telephone call summoning him to Buffalo.

Background of DeLuca Shows Varying Facets


The gangland-type slaying of Arthur DeLuca, which sent police in two cities on an intensive investigation of organized crime, has raised many questions in the minds of his family and friends.


The big question is "Why?"


Why was this youth, who on the surface, at least, was not much different from hundreds of others, killed in such a brutal and fiendish manner?


When the 6-foot, 200-pound Niagara Falls man was found in the trunk of his expensive, sporty

automobile—strangled by an electric cord—early Wednesday, acquaintances" were shocked.


DeLuca, many thought, wasn't the gangster type. Backing their bewilderment are some facts.


Example: DeLuca was a husky, handsome regular football player for Niagara Falls High School.

A tackle, he started several 1951 games. In 1952, just before the Cataracts' opening game, DeLuca was declared ineligible because his grades were too low. Later he played the same position for the Niagara Falls semiprofessional football team.


Example: DeLuca, an active, enthusiastic member of the Boys Club when the club played a key role in promoting the now-defunct Soap Box Derby here, was a yearly entrant in the race. His

homemade vehicles were carefully made an acquaintance remembers.


But, there are others things remembered about the only child of Mr. and Mrs. Attilio DeLuca of  l8th St.


Gang Influence Cited


People who worked with him said he held a job for two brief periods as a bricklayer, though he did not lay brick but merely assisted in carrying and counting them, said he lacked perseverance.


People with whom he attended high school said he was easily influenced by older youth particularly a set of young toughs known as the Pine Avenue gang.


(One member of the so called gang is now in hiding, and police here believe he may become the fourth victim in the current vengeance series).


Behind the wheel of the 1957 Cadillac DeLuca drove, despite the fact his only apparent means of

support was a weekly unemployment check, DeLuca was a familiar figure hire and in Buffalo.


He dressed well. His shoes were buffed to a soft glow. His wavy, black hair was combed neatly into a stylish pompadour.


At home, DeLuca lived in a comfortable, well-furnished apartment upstairs at 636 21st St., with his wife Arlene, an expectant mother, and their son, Arthur Jr.


If anyone wondered about the money required to wine and dine friends in at least two cities, drive an expensive auto, date a Buffalo woman (police are still questioning her), and live in a stylish apartment, no one said anything.


Rumors of being helped financially by his family and in-laws were aired. No one cared whether the rumor was true.


It was pointed out the Niagara Falls man, who was acquainted with Buffalo hoodlums Fred and Frank Aquino, was to have opened a coffee shop in a Town of Tonawanda plaza soon. However, a check with the plaza owners revealed that another Niagara Falls man, not identified, had obtained a five-year lease for the shop.


Stories Conflict


All kinds of stories are making the rounds.


One concerns the disappearance of a Niagara Falls woman with whom DeLuca was friendly.


The woman's husband and DeLuca are reported to, have fought at the man's home, and within days after DeLuca disappeared the woman is said to have gone to Florida.


Many of the stories conflict.


For instance, the Aquinos are called friends of DeLuca in 'one version, enemies in another.  


Whatever the truth concerning the victim, investigations  are slowly lighting the shadowy private life of Arthur DeLuca.


And those facts may furnish vital clues to his slaying—and the slayers.

DeLuca's Pal Held For Safety


Buffalo Oct. 15, 1958 —(AP)—A friend of slain Arthur DeLuca was picked up late last night by Niagara County authorities and held for his own safety.


The gangland slaying of DeLuca, discovered early yesterday, was the third killing in five weeks. 


Harried authorities expressed fear that the chain of violent deaths was not over.


Taken in to custody was 29- year - old John Russinko, described as a close friend of DeLuca.


He had been free on bail pending trial on charges for breaking into a house Aug. 30 with DeLuca.


Erie County District Attorney John F. Dwyer said last night that more murders were likely "unless persons with vital information come forward and speak up."


Niagara Falls Detective Chief John Considine appealed to the public for aid in solving the

crime. "Anyone coming forth with any information will be fully protected," he declared.


Dwyer said he knew of no hard facts to link DeLuca's death with the September murders of the Aquino brothers but said "from the vicioilsness of the three killings I would speculate that they are connected.".


He said "it probably revolves about the gangland murder here in March, 1957, of Anthony Mafrici

and with Fred Aquino's association with a Cleveland safecracking ring. It's all part of the same problem and before it’s over there may be more killings."


DeLuca, 23, an unemployed bricklayer, was found, garroted by wire, in the trunk of his 1957 Cadillac which was parked in a lot in North Tonawanda.


He had been missing since Oct. 8.










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