THE CONFESSION: ‘Down the rabbit hole’
“Freez and I killed Angel,” I told friends at a dinner party who were asking about his disappearance one night.
“To be honest, though, I was less terrified about being caught than going to hell. I think that’s why I confessed to Gitsie and some of the other people I knew. But I told them in a manipulative, matter-of-fact way so they thought I was making it up.”
Within days Michael was crying and blubbering on the phone to his mother in Indiana. Elke Blair, Michaels mother said to him “Michael you are high aren’t you?” When he said yes she did not think anything about his 5am confession to her. “I wiped it out of my memory” she says.
No one went to the police.
In August 1996, I went to see the Manhattan DA because rumors were circulating in the media and on the club scene. But nobody took it seriously. The police thought it was one of my pranks or some kind of performance art. The disappearance of a Colombian drug dealer was not exactly a high priority case for the New York police department. So for months Michael Alig remained untouched.
Meanwhile, Angel’s brother, Johnny, came to town and was badgering them for answers. He was pressing the issue and was frustrated nobody was searching for Angel. Johnny filed a missing persons report and putting up missing persons posters around lower Manhattan. Sobbing he called James St James. Still, even with Johnny; s pleading, no one contacted the police. No one wanted to rat on Michael. That is a testimony to the unbelievable power Michael held over these people, that even though they knew that he had committed a grisly murder, no one was going to say anything about it. Though his friends tried to protect him, Michael Alig really needed protection from himself.
Alig ran around Manhattan for months afterward telling anyone who would listen that he had killed Melendez, but no one believed him.
“Oh, that crazy Michael. He’ll say anything for a little attention.”
Long before Alig went away for the ultimate transgression, he was notorious for intentionally and gleefully behaving like everyone’s worst nightmare, thumbing his nose at the very idea of acceptable behavior. He would throw hundreds of dollar bills onto a dance floor just to watch people scramble for money on their hands and knees. More than once, he urinated onto a crowd of people or into someone’s drink. Occasionally, he would execute a giant exaggerated pratfall, knocking party-goers to the ground in the process. Even Musto, who detests Alig, admits that there was something fascinating, even instructive, in his bad-seed routine. “In a way, his bad behavior was refreshing,” he says. “He was sending up the whole aspect of formality and polite society.”
Peter Gatien called Michael in for a meeting about his drug use and forced him to seek help. “I went to rehab in Denver, but it was a halfhearted attempt to get sober.” He fled from rehab and Peter fired him.
“My dealers were flying across from New York to supply me with Special K, cocaine and methamphetamine. I was in a state of numb haze. Because of the drugs, I wasn’t alive emotionally enough for the crime to bother me. I knew that the minute I stopped using, I would have to face the truth. I was afraid of this flood of reality.”
Two weeks after the murder Michael documented that the murder was in self defence. He went to see a lawyer who took several photographs of the injuries Michael sustained in the fight with Angel. The lawyer advised him to either turn himself in or keep his mouth shut. Michael did neither.
But Angel’s remains were recovered from the Hudson in the fall.
It wasn’t until nine months later that Staten Island police discovered they had an unclaimed legless corpse in their morgue. Freeze was picked up for questioning and confessed in writing then and there.
In November 1996, the law caught up with me. I was staying with my boyfriend, Brian, in a hotel in Toms River, NJ, when the police knocked on the door. Michael Rodriguez, the DA, was actually kind. “We know that nobody wanted Angel to die, but it’s not going to go away,” he said. “Somebody has to pay.”
They let me bring my heroin to get me up to Rikers because I told them I would get sick in a couple of hours. “You’ve got a lot bigger problems to worry about than a couple of bags of heroin,” the officer told me.
Alig was arrested at a New Jersey hotel room, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and was sentenced to ten to twenty years in prison.
In part TWO coming soon: Is the party over? We fill in some blanks and look at the rest of the infamous Club Kids…