When a Brisbane power company received a call concerning a blown fuse box, they had no reason to suspect anything sinister.
The caller was Peter Volke, a well-known cruise ship chef who often used the small apartment kitchen to create new menu items. Focused on perfection, the young chef would often get lost in his craft, plugging in too many kitchen gadgets and overloading the breaker.
Within the hour, an electrician arrived, and unable to test the current from the ground floor, walked to the second floor and knocked on Peter’s door. He was greeted nicely by the resident, but had had the feeling that he was being hurried to leave. This was okay with him, as he could hardly tolerate the “eye-watering” and rancid smell contaminating the entire apartment.
The electrician would later recall: “We walked in through the front door and as we did, he said “please excuse the smell, I’m cooking pig’s broth”, and I thought that was unusual for this time of year because it’s getting warmer.
After installing a new fuse, the electrician slapped the fusebox door closed and rushed into the hallway, almost losing his lunch.
A few days pass and the appalling stench continued to engulf the apartment, slowly seeping into the neighbor’s as well. Complaint cards accumulated in the front office, which sent the apartment manager storming upstairs on several occasions. After days of the resident not answering his door, the manager phoned the police.
One resident told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) that, “On Saturday when I came out for a walk, [the smell] made your eyes water, it made you want to be sick,” she said.
Another recalled, “The smell, it was like as if somebody had put out some dog food or red meat and left it out for a few days.”
When officers finally entered through the apartment threshold, they interrupted its resident as he stirred a large pot on top of the stove.
Inside the pot of boiling dark liquid was a twisted lump of black, long hair rising atop of the millions of rising bubbles. In between the strands of hair, the officers saw what they later identified as two cloudy eyeballs, once belonging to the tenant’s wife. The retinas were still intact.
To the officer’s horror, they realized that this man was boiling his wife’s remains on the stovetop. Crime scene investigators would find other remains of bones, flesh, and limbs still waiting to be cooked, overflowed from several trash bags on the apartment floor.
One officer stated: “We went into the bathroom which had laundry in it and there was a cupboard that had the washing machine in it — which I didn’t know at the time had bits of his wife’s body in it, like her legs and arms.”
An Unlikely Match
Peter Volke met his wife, Mayang Prasetyo, while she was working at the Pleasure Dome, an Australian brothel.
Mayang was an Indonesian transgendered woman who caught Peter’s attention. This was an unfamiliar experience for Peter, but he found that he not only enjoyed the sex, but he enjoyed Mayang’s company as well, and the two soon married.
Nowhere to Run
When faced with police arrest, Peter Volke fled the scene by scaling the apartment’s wall from his balcony. He successfully evaded the police for several hours by hiding in a local recycling bin.
In his hand was the still bloodied kitchen knife used to dismember his wife earlier in the evening.
As he heard footsteps of the approaching police, he laid the kitchen knife against the front side of his neck, dragging its serrated blade across his own flesh.
It remains a complete mystery why Peter Volke killed his wife and why he cooked her remains like he did. Friends of both Peter and Mayang claimed that the couple was deeply in love, although they were often seen arguing.
Did Volke take his own life when he realized that he would forever be incomplete without the person he loved? Or because he was caught?