Twist on a Famous Formula: A Severed Hand in a Topless Dancer’s Jar
SOUTH PLAINFIELD, N.J., July 25 — A scrawled note on the door read: “No!!! comment. Just stop knocking. You want a story read a book.”
But who could beat the story of the house in this middle-class town, where the police say an exotic dancer at a nude juice bar had a severed hand, nicknamed Freddy, preserved in formaldehyde, and six human skulls?
The police said it was unclear where the body parts had come from, but that did not deter them from charging the dancer, Linda E. Kay, 31 — who works at Hott 22, a strip club in Union — with unlawful disposition of human remains.
The police said they found the crudely hacked hand inside a Mason jar in Ms. Kay’s bedroom on Friday afternoon after answering a call from a woman who said that an owner of the house, Sean McDonough, had threatened to kill himself with a hammer.
When the police arrived, Mr. McDonough was nowhere to be found, but Ms. Kay answered the door.
She became uncooperative, the police said, and they proceeded to search the house based on the phone call and found the jar containing the hand.
Capt. Paul Brembt of the South Plainfield Police Department said that Ms. Kay conceded that she owned the hand, although she would not say where she got it. Nor were the police sure who owned the six skulls, which were found in an upstairs room.
The Star-Ledger of Newark reported the discovery of the hand and skulls on Tuesday.
Andrea Leipow, 25, an aspiring model, said she had lived at the house for a brief time, ending in April. She said that Ms. Kay had told her that a medical student who was a fan of Ms. Kay’s dancing had given the hand to her as a gift.
Ms. Leipow said that residents of the house had nicknamed it “Lefty” or “Freddy” or, simply, “the Hand.”
She said that the house’s residents scared her, so she left. “They had tons of weapons,” she said. “They had a medieval mace, a shotgun, they had another sawed-off shotgun, pistols, knives.”
No one answered repeated knocks on the door at the cream-colored, aluminum-sided split-level house on a quiet, winding street on Tuesday, but neighbors spoke of the home, at 28 Diana Drive.
“That house” was all the reference needed, said C. T. McClain, a next-door neighbor.
It was a house where weeds frequently climbed to the knee and higher, they said, and trash was regularly scattered on the front steps. There were parties that went on until 3 or 4 a.m., and that had recently featured fireworks.
Neighbors said they saw school-age children coming and going.
For the past several years, Ms. Kay worked at Hott 22, where she went by the stage name Zilla.
Ira Weiner, a lawyer for the club, said that he often spoke with her.
“She’s kind of an artistic person, with her own sense of aesthetics,” he said. “But she’s harmless. You know, what she collected was not a manifestation of her being vicious, it’s just simply what she thought was cool or had some artistic merits.”
Ms. Kay graduated from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in 1993. Her senior yearbook identifies her as a member of the swim team.
Ms. Kay was released on $100,000 bail on the day she was arrested. The police are not sure where she is.
The police arrested a second exotic dancer who lived in the house, Polina V. Nikulina, 26. She was charged on Friday with failing to appear in court on a weapons charge.