Camelot logo Danny Casolaro

Danny Casolaro,
an aspiring novelist, freelance writer and investigative reporter looking into the theft of Project PROMIS software, a program capable of tracking down anyone anywhere in the world, died in August 1991, a reported suicide. Casolaro was also investigating Pine Gap, Area 51 and governmental bioengineering. His manuscript – tentatively entitled The Octopus and which would reveal a web of conspiracy involving everything from PROMIS to BCCI to Iran-Contra to the JFK assassination to the October Surprise – was missing from his room and has never been found.

For Casolaro, the Octopus presented a complex web of intrigue involving PROMIS; the inter-connection of various police services, intelligence agencies and organised criminal groups; and a large number of parapolitical operators, weapons brokers and deal-makers. All of this continues to have an impact on the post-9/11 world, with PROMIS figuring in many contemporary stories.

From a well-to-do family (his father, a doctor, had invested well in Northern Virginia real estate), he was 44 years old, divorced, and living comfortably on a five-acre estate in Fairfax County, Virginia – home to the CIA.

In the first week of August, Casolaro told friends and acquaintances that he was going to West Virginia too meet a source who would provide a key piece of evidence he needed to complete his investigation. He drove to Martinsburg, West Virginia, on Thursday, August 8, and checked into room 517 of the Sheraton Hotel. Two days later, at 12:51 p.m., hotel employees found his naked body in a bathtub full of bloody water. The time of death has been estimated at about 9.00 am. Both arms and wrists had been slashed a total of at least 12 times; one of the cuts went so deep that it had severed a tendon.

The hotel management called the Martinsburg police who brought along the local coroner, Sandra Brining, a registered nurse. Ms. Brining ruled the death a suicide, took small blood and urine samples, and released the body to the Brown Funeral Home. Without authorization from officials or Casolaro's next of kin, the funeral home embalmed the body as a "courtesy to the family", according to Brining's statement at an August 15 press conference in Martinsburg.

Martinsburg police notified the next of kin, Dr. Anthony Casolaro, also of Fairfax, of his brother's death on Monday, August 12. Casolaro says that police explanations for the delay, like the hasty, unauthorized and illegal embalming, seemed either extraordinarily inefficient or highly suspicious.

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