PROVINCETOWN, MA — Antone Charles “Tony” Costa, who would grow up to become a serial-killing carpenter whose string of murders attracted international attention, was born in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on August 2, 1944.
Costa was accused of killing four women — Susan Perry, Sydney Monzon, Patricia Walsh, and Mary Anne Wysocki — in Provincetown in 1969. The remains of Perry were found on February 8 while police were looking for the bodies of Walsh and Wysocki. Her body had been cut into eight pieces.
A month later, police found the head and torso of Wysocki nearby in a forest clearing. Investigators then found Walsh’s body. Both women had been mutilated with a knife, although they had apparently died from gunshot wounds. Then they also found the corpse of Sidney Monzon. Walsh and Wysocki had both been shot in the head, and the coroner reportedly discovered evidence of necrophilia.
The case made headlines when District Attorney Edmund Dinis made a statement to the media, saying, “The hearts of each girl had been removed from the bodies and were not in the graves…. Each body was cut into as many parts as there are joints.”
Media outlets in search of lurid headlines gave Costa nicknames including “Cape Cod Casanova” and “Chop Chop” Costa. When asked by a reporter if Costa was a “Cape Cod vampire,” Dinis answered in the affirmative.
However, many of the comments were untrue, or merely exaggerated. The hearts had not been removed, and although some organs were missing from at least one of the bodies, no cutting devices had been found.
Police suspected Costa due to the fact that the forest clearing where the women were buried was revealed to be his personal garden where he grew marijuana. And at the time of his arrest, Costa already had a violent criminal past: In November 1961, when he was 16, he was arrested after trying to assault a teenage girl. He was convicted of burglary and assault, and given a one-year suspended sentence.
Costa later married and fathered three children, but his marriage reportedly fell apart due to drug use. In 1966, he picked up two hippie girls, Bonnie Williams and Diane Federoff, and promised to take them to Pennsylvania on his way to California. They never made it, and he later told police that he had dropped them off in California. Investigators also believe that while he was temporarily living in San Francisco, he murdered his girlfriend Barbara Spaulding.
After returning to Massachusetts, Costa stole $5,000 worth of surgical and medical equipment. A week later, Sydney Monzon disappeared — and shortly after that, Costa’s girlfriend Susan Perry vanished.
After the bodies were discovered, media outlets descended on the small Massachusetts hamlet. Novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., whose daughter Edith had met Costa, compared him to Charles Manson in his collection of essays. Vonnegut said of his correspondence with Costa: “The message of his letters to me was that a person as intent on being virtuous as he could not possibly have hurt a fly.”
Costa wrote an unpublished novel while in prison that described the murders of Walsh and Wysocki. In it, he claimed that Costa and a friend named “Carl” were out with the two women consuming LSD and Dilaudid when Carl shot Walsh and Wysocki. He wrote that after realizing that Wysocki was still alive, he decided to “end her suffering” with a knife — and that he and Carl buried the bodies. Costa claimed that Susan Perry and Sydney Monzon died due to drug overdoses, and Carl dismembered and buried their bodies.
In May of 1970 Costa was convicted for three of the murders, and sentenced to life in prison at Massachusetts’ Walpole Correctional Institution. Four years into his sentence, Costa committed suicide by hanging himself in his cell. Some experts believe that Costa could be responsible for as many as seven or eight murders.
Costa’s “garden” in the Truro woods had became a tourist attraction, which, to this day, continues to attract visitors in search of spooky sites.
Main photo: Tony Costa [Capecast / YouTube (screenshot)]