PDA

View Full Version : MA MA - ALBERT DESALVO, The Boston Strangler, 1960's


STANDREID
06-21-2012, 09:19 PM
I don't see a Boston Strangler thread on here so I thought I'd start one.

Despite what some think, the case is officially unsolved and began 50 years ago this month.

I remember when it was big on the news along with his contemporary Jack the Stripper in England which is unsolved as well. A case of dueling serial killers?

DeSalvo could have been the strangler but I doubt it. He was never charged with a single murder; only some sexual crimes.

Actually, I think there were probably at least two killers.

STANDREID
06-21-2012, 09:40 PM
There have been at least 5 movies inspired by the case:

The Strangler(1964)
The Boston Strangler(1968)
No Way to Treat a Lady(1968)
The Boston Strangler(2006)
Boston Strangler: The Untold Story(2008)

STANDREID
06-22-2012, 07:29 AM
My own personal view (worth close to what you paid for it) is:

The "official" Boston Strangler was the person who killed most if not all of the eight women age 55-75.

Albert DeSalvo was responsible only for the death of Mary Mullen and this was manslaughter not murder.

Some other killer or killers murdered the remaining five victims who were all women age 19-23.

STANDREID
06-22-2012, 09:55 PM
The first murder occurred June 13/14 of 1962 and the last January 3/4 1964 so just over 18 months. He started off with 5 deaths in his first 16 days but then slowed his pace. In fact, he never killed more than two people in one month after this first flurry.

STANDREID
06-23-2012, 10:06 PM
The toll for June 1962 was Anna Slesers, Paula Lepro, Mary Mullen, Nina Nichols and Helen Blake. Nichols and Blake were killed on the same day. There were no murders in July.

Ambercat
06-27-2012, 05:21 PM
This is the Crime Library article about the Boston Strangler -- http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/serial_killers/notorious/boston/index_1.html

George Nasser may have been responsible for some of the crimes (reportedly, he was the person Albert DeSalvo confessed to, but it could have been the other way around). George Nassar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

marycarney
06-27-2012, 06:40 PM
Slightly OT, but I went to see the 1968 movie (I was 12). The end of the movie, someone is saying softly to DeSalvo "Albert..........Aaallllbert......"

My cousin Mike had gone to the restroom and unbeknownst to us snuck back into the row behind all us girl cousins. As the credits started to roll, he leaned behind me and said "Aaalllllbert" - scared the bejeebers outta me! :)

STANDREID
07-10-2012, 08:56 AM
Yes, I remember that night at the movies as well. I was married at the time and my wife and I went to the early evening performance at a 1400 seat theater and couldn't get in because it was sold out. We came back to the later screening and just barely got into that. In fact, there were nothing but single seats open so we had to sit a couple of rows apart. I actually have fonder memories of the experience than of the film which was somewhat of a disappointment.

STANDREID
07-20-2012, 09:42 PM
When a man named Charles Edward Terry was arrested in New York during June of 1963 for the strangulation murder of Zenovia Clegg, 62, some thought that he might be the Boston Strangler and a few still do. Terry, who killed at least two women, including another in Louisiana, died in prison in 1981.

He was available to commit all but three of the murders on the Strangler list and those three are somewhat doubtful in some people's minds - two because they were way outside of the standard 55-75 age range and the other because there are some circumstances in her case that would be unique to the Strangler or at least the purported one who was killing the older women.

STANDREID
07-21-2012, 07:36 AM
That other is Evelyn Corbin who was 58 when she was sexually assaulted and strangled with her stockings in her Salem apartment. She fits the chronological age but it has been said that she looked much younger, like maybe 38. The other unusual factor in her murder is that evidence indicated that her killer broke into her residence through her window by a fire escape rather than gaining access to the home by subterfuge which was the Stranger's believed practice in most if not all of the other slayings.

In the case of Mrs. Clegg, Terry befriended her in a dating type situation in order to enter her residence and kill her. At the time, he had just turned 33 and she was 62.

STANDREID
07-22-2012, 08:28 PM
I see that when I Google Boston Strangler suspects, Terry is the only putative suspect, besides DeSalvo, who shows up on the first page.

STANDREID
07-23-2012, 08:12 AM
If I recall, the first time I heard about Nassar was in the Unsolved Mysteries segment on the case.

STANDREID
08-09-2012, 09:31 AM
Nassar was a charismatic individual so it's easy to think he could talk his way into a woman's apartment more readily than DeSalvo who came across as a dullard. The problem with that view though is that we do know DeSalvo talked his way into women's residences as the Green Man and the Measuring Man so either he had better social skills than it appeared or the women were not nearly as careful as they should have been.

STANDREID
08-20-2012, 08:52 AM
For August 50 years ago, Ida Irga, 75, was killed on the 19th and found on the 21st. Jane Sullivan, 67, was slain on the 20th and found later in the month. There had been about a 7 week lull in the murders and there will not be another until early December nor another older woman killed until March of 1963.

STANDREID
08-25-2012, 07:50 AM
The Strangler often committed more than one murder in a month but he never committed murders in two consecutive months.

mysterymom7
08-27-2012, 08:35 AM
That other is Evelyn Corbin who was 58 when she was sexually assaulted and strangled with her stockings in her Salem apartment. She fits the chronological age but it has been said that she looked much younger, like maybe 38. The other unusual factor in her murder is that evidence indicated that her killer broke into her residence through her window by a fire escape rather than gaining access to the home by subterfuge which was the Stranger's believed practice in most if not all of the other slayings.

In the case of Mrs. Clegg, Terry befriended her in a dating type situation in order to enter her residence and kill her. At the time, he had just turned 33 and she was 62.

Did the Boston Strangler usually go into a woman's home? I think I should look into the victims more to get a good idea of the MO.

STANDREID
08-28-2012, 07:26 PM
Yes as I recall, all the women were killed in their apartments. In almost all the cases, it is believed that he used some ruse to gain entry such as claiming to be a maintenance man, an exterminator, a building inspector or some such thing.

mysterymom7
08-28-2012, 09:38 PM
Yes as I recall, all the women were killed in their apartments. In almost all the cases, it is believed that he used some ruse to gain entry such as claiming to be a maintenance man, an exterminator, a building inspector or some such thing.

I looked into it. I have a relative who went missing between 1960-1963 in Essex County, but she was married with children.

STANDREID
08-28-2012, 10:13 PM
I am sorry to hear of your loss. There were victims who had grown children and I think maybe at least one who might have been married but separated - I could be wrong on that last part. There were no known missing victims but that doesn't mean there couldn't have been.

STANDREID
08-28-2012, 10:25 PM
The woman in the Curtis movie who was attacked but survived I think was one of DeSalvo's Green Man attacks and thus unrelated to the Strangler Case, that is unless you think DeSalvo was the Strangler.

STANDREID
08-29-2012, 09:02 AM
The majority of the murders occurred in the first 6 months with the remainder strung out over the next 13 months.

STANDREID
09-04-2012, 07:03 AM
All the victims in the first 6 week flurry were in the over 55 age group.

mysterymom7
09-04-2012, 01:07 PM
All the victims in the first 6 week flurry were in the over 55 age group.

After further research, I've found that the missing family member of mine headed to Florida in the summer of 1962.

STANDREID
09-11-2012, 09:20 AM
All the victims in the first 6 week flurry were in the over 55 age group.

I meant 9 not 6:waitasec:

STANDREID
09-14-2012, 06:49 AM
DeSalvo was in the military police at one time. Whether that would have been much help in evading detection is up for debate.

STANDREID
09-23-2012, 08:08 PM
The last unsolved killing in the case was the murder of Albert DeSalvo himself in 1973.

STANDREID
09-24-2012, 09:28 AM
I can't find a definite DeSalvo related crime time-line but the best I can estimate at this moment:

Late 1960-Early 1961: The Measuring Man Assaults (DeSalvo)
Mid 1962-Early 1964: The Boston Strangler Murders (DeSalvo?)
Mid 1962-Late 1964: The Green Man Rapes (DeSalvo)

So the Green Man crimes ran roughly simultaneously with the Strangler murders and even beyond them some. That begs the question, why would a serial killer deescalate or why kill some women but not others? It would seem to argue against DeSalvo as the murderer in my view at least.

mysterymom7
09-24-2012, 09:52 AM
I can't find a definite DeSalvo related crime time-line but the best I can estimate at this moment:

Late 1960-Early 1961: The Measuring Man Assaults (DeSalvo)
Mid 1962-Early 1964: The Boston Strangler Murders (DeSalvo?)
Mid 1962-Late 1964: The Green Man Rapes (DeSalvo)

So the Green Man crimes ran roughly simultaneously with the Strangler murders and even beyond them some. That begs the question, why would a serial killer deescalate or why kill some women but not others? It would seem to argue against DeSalvo as the murderer in my view at least.

They don't usually deescalate, which would lead me to believe it wasn't the same person.

STANDREID
09-25-2012, 08:59 AM
Yes, they may slow their pace but, if anything, the murders usually become more brutal just like a junkie needing more heroin to get the same high.

hmg
09-25-2012, 01:46 PM
We know for a fact that the last person killed in the second set of stranglings, Mary Sullivan, had someone's DNA on her and it was NOT Albert DeSalvo's. That doesn't necessarily mean the other stranglings weren't the work of DeSalvo, but I think given the other evidence there's a good chance he's not the real killer. In fact, I'd be surprised if this was the work of one person.

Here's a clip from Unsolved Mysteries explaining the DNA results of Mary Sullivan's exhumation:

http://youtu.be/kKCK79LJtQ4

STANDREID
10-11-2012, 09:30 AM
It's next to certain that DeSalvo did not kill Sullivan.

STANDREID
10-15-2012, 08:59 AM
Not unless he had a partner.

STANDREID
10-20-2012, 10:07 AM
and I don't know of anyone pushing that theory.

STANDREID
11-08-2012, 08:17 AM
One theory is that DeSalvo was actually killed by the real Strangler.

STANDREID
12-03-2012, 11:06 PM
We are now at the 50th anniversary of Sophie Clark's murder.

Dragonfyree
12-22-2012, 01:40 PM
The best book I've read about the stranglings is "The Boston Stranglers - by Susan Kelly.

It really goes into detail about the crime scenes. I didn't know several of the women were stabbed.

One victim, Patricia Bissette (not sure of correct spelling) was pregnant, was in her bed and covered with her blankets, not displayed. I believe she was having an affair with her boss and was supposed to testify in some kind of trial.

I read this book when it first came out so am a little vague on some of the details, but was very surprised that this was even considered a Strangler victim. Sounded more as if it was someone close to her.

The author believes there were several different killers, and the police were looking at different people until they all got lumped together under "The Boston Strangler.

STANDREID
12-22-2012, 11:00 PM
The best book I've read about the stranglings is "The Boston Stranglers - by Susan Kelly.

It is a first rate book. I have it in my library.

STANDREID
12-29-2012, 09:08 AM
It will be 50 years ago Monday, on the 31st, that Patricia Bissette was found strangled.

STANDREID
12-30-2012, 11:00 PM
If Patricia Bissette was a Boston Strangler victim then he took another hiatus for nearly 10 weeks.

STANDREID
01-11-2013, 11:02 PM
Of the five remaining Strangler victims (1963-64), 3 were in the 19-23 age group and the others were women 58 and 69.

STANDREID
01-29-2013, 08:16 PM
In the late 1960s there was some speculation the Boston Strangler might be responsible for the Ypsilanti murders - later proven to be the work of John Norman Collins. Collins was in high school in Michigan at the time of the Boston murders so he's pretty safely off the list for those but it does show that some weren't necessarily buying DeSalvo's "confession" back then.

STANDREID
02-11-2013, 11:01 PM
John Norman Collins has also been proposed as a suspect in the unsolved massacre of the 6 members of the Robison family in 1968 so his name has a habit of coming up in connection with true murder mysteries.

Dragonfyree
02-14-2013, 05:37 PM
John Norman Collins has also been proposed as a suspect in the unsolved massacre of the 6 members of the Robison family in 1968 so his name has a habit of coming up in connection with true murder mysteries.

I read a book on those murders and I think it was believed they were done by his business partner who later committed suicide.

I do know that one of the supposed John Norman Collins murder victims, Jane Mixer, was actually killed by someone else, who was convicted in 2005 on DNA evidence.

STANDREID
02-16-2013, 11:01 PM
John Norman Collins has also been proposed as a suspect in the unsolved massacre of the 6 members of the Robison family in 1968 so his name has a habit of coming up in connection with true murder mysteries.

I read a book on those murders and I think it was believed they were done by his business partner who later committed suicide.

Yes, that guy is the most popular suspect I believe.

STANDREID
03-07-2013, 11:03 PM
We're now at the 50th anniversary of the murder of 69-year-old Mary Brown. She was the first murder of an older woman in the series since August of 1962. Originally, there was some question as to whether she should be listed as a Boston S. victim since her slaying also involved beating and stabbing.

STANDREID
04-04-2013, 07:22 AM
The killer then took an 8.5 week hiatus before returning to a victim in the younger age group.

STANDREID
05-03-2013, 07:16 AM
The 50th anniversary of the murder of Beverly Samans is May 8, this coming Wednesday.

STANDREID
05-28-2013, 07:13 PM
There was then a 17 week break in the Boston area murders - the longest hiatus in the series.

One author has posited that the July 1963 Belmont murder of Bessie Goldberg, 76, might have been a Boston S. killing but a man named Roy Smith was convicted of that one and the conviction remains on the books. Smith is now deceased.

STANDREID
05-29-2013, 08:04 AM
When a man named Charles Edward Terry was arrested in New York during June of 1963 for the strangulation murder of Zenovia Clegg, 62, some thought that he might be the Boston Strangler and a few still do. Terry, who killed at least two women, including another in Louisiana, died in prison in 1981.

He was available to commit all but three of the murders on the Strangler list and those three are somewhat doubtful in some people's minds - two because they were way outside of the standard 55-75 age range and the other because there are some circumstances in her case that would be unique to the Strangler or at least the purported one who was killing the older women.

The 50th anniversary of Clegg's strangulation with her own scarf is tomorrow, May 30. Terry is also a strong suspect in the very similar murder of a 24-year-old divorced waitress in Brunswick, Maine during 1951. In this so-called "Red Scarf Murder", Shirley Coolen was killed and left behind some hedge.

STANDREID
06-19-2013, 08:59 AM
One author has posited that the July 1963 Belmont murder of Bessie Goldberg, 76, might have been a Boston S. killing but a man named Roy Smith was convicted of that one and the conviction remains on the books. Smith is now deceased.

Correction: This victim was actually murdered in March of 1963 not July and her age was listed as 62 not 76 - sorry. The rest of the post is correct to the best of my knowledge.

LadyL
07-11-2013, 10:21 AM
DNA from the last victim does not match Albert DeSalvo:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/18/national/main302130.shtml

wfgodot
07-11-2013, 11:23 AM
Partial summary of today's presser:

*....Mary Sullivan "raped and murdered and her body desecrated" - the last of 11 murders.

*....DeSalvo's confession was not admissible in court; no forensic evidence until today.

*....familial match made, DNA-wise, after DeSalvo's remains were recently exhumed.

*....developments "bear only on Mary Sullivan's murder."

*....disagreements still exist about other ten murders - whether they were committed by same person.

*...."separate technicians at two outstanding laboratories" both reached same conclusion from samples.

STANDREID
07-11-2013, 11:37 AM
That's big news and might lead me to a reassessment.

wfgodot
07-11-2013, 11:39 AM
That's big news and might lead me to a reassessment.Me too.

Kat
07-11-2013, 02:14 PM
How Boston Police obtained DNA match in Boston Strangler case - YouTube

Backwoods
07-12-2013, 12:40 AM
OK, somebody help me understand ... how to reconcile this (referencing a 2009 article written after DeSalvo's body was exhumed for DNA testing) ...

DNA from the last victim does not match Albert DeSalvo:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/18/national/main302130.shtml

...with the newest reports:

Partial summary of today's presser:

*....Mary Sullivan "raped and murdered and her body desecrated" - the last of 11 murders.

*....DeSalvo's confession was not admissible in court; no forensic evidence until today.

*....familial match made, DNA-wise, after DeSalvo's remains were recently exhumed.

*....developments "bear only on Mary Sullivan's murder."

*....disagreements still exist about other ten murders - whether they were committed by same person.

*...."separate technicians at two outstanding laboratories" both reached same conclusion from samples.

They exhumed DeSalvo a second time for this, correct (after comparing some case DNA to his nephew's DNA)? Had they found new DNA evidence from Mary Sullivan's case to test this time?

wfgodot
07-12-2013, 12:27 PM
Daily Mail has some period pictures (from Life magazine) from the time of the fear:

Eerie photographs show how 'Boston Strangler' sparked fear in city's women
who learned karate and carried weapons as killer is finally named five decades on (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2361968/Life-com-release-eerie-photos-Boston-Strangler-sparked-fear-citys-women.html)

wfgodot
07-12-2013, 12:30 PM
OK, somebody help me understand ... how to reconcile this (referencing a 2009 article written after DeSalvo's body was exhumed for DNA testing) ...
...with the newest reports:
They exhumed DeSalvo a second time for this, correct (after comparing some case DNA to his nephew's DNA)? Had they found new DNA evidence from Mary Sullivan's case to test this time?
Actually, I was wrong; misheard the part about exhumation at the presser. They are expected to exhume DeSalvo's body again next week; a Boston judge granted permission on Wednesday.

The DNA assessment was possible due to advances in the science (or so they claim). The samples came from Ms. Sullivan's body and the blanket on which it was found.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/us/dna-evidence-identified-in-boston-strangler-case.html?_r=0

KMouse
07-12-2013, 02:27 PM
http://livewire.wcvb.com/Event/Major_development_in_Boston_Strangler_case?utm_sou rce=hootsuite&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=wcvb%2Bchannel%2B5%2Bboston

LIVE

Albert DeSalvo's remains being exhumed

believe09
07-12-2013, 02:38 PM
This is extraordinary. I am really amazed. I wonder if there is any chance that there is a lot of marital crossover in the citizens in the area where the men are from. KWIM?

bessie
07-12-2013, 07:07 PM
Help me out someone, cuz I'm feeling really dumb.

Why was the body exhumed a second time?? Are the agencies not sharing?

And if DNA didn't match in 2009, why does it match now?

Is Suffolk County claiming an error in the 2009 testing? And if so, why is there no mention of it?

I'm sure I've overlooked something obvious, so what the heck is it? :waitasec:

February 11, 2009, 9:23 PM
James Starrs, a professor of forensic science and law at George Washington University, said investigators found DNA evidence on the remains of Mary Sullivan and compared it with DNA from the remains of DeSalvo, whose body was exhumed just before Thanksgiving.

"We have found evidence and the evidence does not and cannot be associated with Albert DeSalvo," Starrs said at a news conference.http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/18/national/main302130.shtml
Published: July 11, 2013
BOSTON — Investigators said Thursday that they had linked the man believed by many to have been the Boston Strangler to DNA found in the home of a woman thought to be the Strangler’s last victim...

...had recently tested seminal fluid samples taken from Ms. Sullivan’s body, and the blanket on which it was found. They identified a near-certain match with Albert DeSalvo...http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/us/dna-evidence-identified-in-boston-strangler-case.html?_r=1&

wfgodot
07-12-2013, 07:17 PM
It's either "exciting new advances in DNA technology in these last four years" or "Boston D.A. wanting publicity to set up run for future office."

believe09
07-12-2013, 07:21 PM
"Boston D.A. wanting publicity to set up run for future office."

LOL, wfgodot! This one is my vote.

STANDREID
07-12-2013, 09:34 PM
Help me out someone, cuz I'm feeling really dumb.

Why was the body exhumed a second time?? Are the agencies not sharing?

And if DNA didn't match in 2009, why does it match now?

Is Suffolk County claiming an error in the 2009 testing? And if so, why is there no mention of it?

Don't feel bad - I'm wondering same.:findinglink:

bessie
07-22-2013, 02:26 PM
Lab: Confessed Boston Strangler's DNA on slain woman's body (http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/19/justice/massachusetts-boston-strangler-dna)By CNN Staff updated 2:05 PM EDT, Fri July 19, 2013

A lab test confirms DNA evidence taken from the body of a murder victim matches Albert DeSalvo, who at one point confessed to being the Boston Strangler, Massachusetts authorities said Friday.I figured out what I was missing. LOL The previous exhumation wasn't done in 2008, it was in 2001!

This is from the CBS article Backwoods referenced earlier.
CBS/ February 11, 2009, 9:23 PM
DNA evidence taken from one of the 11 women killed by the Boston Strangler does not match that of Albert DeSalvo, who police have said was the infamous 1960s killer, a scientist said Thursday.

James Starrs, a professor of forensic science and law at George Washington University, said investigators found DNA evidence on the remains of Mary Sullivan and compared it with DNA from the remains of DeSalvo, whose body was exhumed just before Thanksgiving.But below the article:
MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report Copyright 2009 CBS. All rights reserved. The link even reads 2001, but I didn't notice it. And here's a link to a NYT article from 2001:
By PHILIP J. HILTS
Published: November 20, 2001
Now, forensic scientists hired by the families of DeSalvo and the final victim, Mary Sullivan, have exhumed the bodies and examined them for DNA and other evidence. They say their analysis, nearly complete, has produced enticing new clues -- and some new mysteries.
The forensic team expects to make a detailed report in Washington in a few weeks, said its leader, James E. Starrs, a law professor at George Washington University. The team says it expects to announce these findings, among others:
*DNA found on Miss Sullivan's body is not hers and may be that of her killer -- whether DeSalvo or someone else, the forensic team will not say.
*The forensic team found a hair, missed at the time of the killing, in the young woman's teeth. The scientists say it may be from her killer.
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/20/science/new-clues-and-puzzles-in-boston-strangler-case.html

Now it makes sense when they say the latest test came about through "new technology". :facepalm: :floorlaugh:

STANDREID
08-14-2013, 08:45 AM
I can see the first test being inconclusive and then later shown to be DeSalvo but I'd like to see an explanation of how one could exclude him and one include him. It is possible that the tests were from two different samples and if so then either DeSalvo had an accomplice or it was unrelated to the crime.

STANDREID
09-10-2013, 07:49 AM
I can see the first test being inconclusive and then later shown to be DeSalvo but I'd like to see an explanation of how one could exclude him and one include him. It is possible that the tests were from two different samples and if so then either DeSalvo had an accomplice or it was unrelated to the crime.

Or, there's some sort of corruption either accidental or intentional in one or the other test.

believe09
09-10-2013, 08:49 AM
thank you Standreid-I agree completely.

bessie
09-15-2013, 01:47 PM
Or, there's some sort of corruption either accidental or intentional in one or the other test.
In 2001, a forensic expert hired by the DeSalvo and Sullivan families through their attorneys, excluded DeSalvo based on a DNA profile obtained from DeSalvo's exhumed remains.Now, forensic scientists hired by the families of DeSalvo and the final victim, Mary Sullivan, have exhumed the bodies and examined them for DNA and other evidence.
http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/20/science/new-clues-and-puzzles-in-boston-strangler-case.html?pagewanted=1"We have found evidence and the evidence does not and cannot be associated with Albert DeSalvo," Starrs said at a news conference.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/07/18/national/main302130.shtmlLE, on the other hand, didn't have a "usable" DNA profile for comparison until recently. The DNA for that profile was extracted from the saliva of DeSalvo's nephew, obtained from a discarded water bottle. According to the July 11 NYT article, the testing was done by two private labs. But early attempts to recover usable DNA samples were inconclusive...

Investigators said they used a test of male chromosomes passed from generation to generation, and found a match that gave them virtual certainty of Mr. DeSalvo’s guilt.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/12/us/dna-evidence-identified-in-boston-strangler-case.html?_r=2&Subsequently, DeSalvo's body was exhumed for a second time.

DNA test ties Albert DeSalvo to Boston Strangler victim (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/19/boston-strangler-albert-desalvo-dna-tests/2568599/)
Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY 2:15 p.m. EDT July 19, 2013

Conley said authorities now have an "unprecedented level of certainty" DeSalvo raped and strangled Mary Sullivan in her Charles Street apartment in Boston on a January afternoon in 1964...

Authorities obtained a search warrant and dug up DeSalvo's remains after an initial test on seminal fluid found at the Sullivan murder site showed a "familial match" to DNA taken secretly from a DeSalvo relative.So to answer your question, different samples were used, but both were extracted directly from DeSalvo's remains. The latest results, however, are bolstered by the preliminary "familial match". IMO, the earlier results are questionable.

STANDREID
09-18-2013, 08:42 AM
If it's legitimate, the first result actually seems more reliable to me. Both sides got the result they wanted at any rate.

STANDREID
09-19-2013, 07:59 AM
At least we should have DeSalvo's DNA results on file now so we don't have to dig him up again.

STANDREID
09-21-2013, 07:02 AM
I guess we need a tie breaker now.

STANDREID
10-13-2013, 09:17 AM
It is possible that the tests were from two different samples and if so then either DeSalvo had an accomplice or it was unrelated to the crime.

I haven't seen any testimony either from DeSalvo or witnesses that indicated that he could have had an accomplice.

STANDREID
10-13-2013, 09:18 AM
It is possible that the tests were from two different samples and if so then either DeSalvo had an accomplice or it was unrelated to the crime.

I haven't seen any testimony either from DeSalvo or witnesses that indicated that he could have had an accomplice.

STANDREID
10-17-2013, 08:58 AM
Fifty years ago next month and after about a 12 week break, the killer was winding down his activities with his penultimate murder.

STANDREID
11-10-2013, 09:32 AM
Fifty years ago next month and after about a 12 week break, the killer was winding down his activities with his penultimate murder.

If the "older women" murders were by another hand, that culprit had already ended his killing.

STANDREID
12-06-2013, 07:14 AM
The last older woman murdered was early September of 63 and there are some doubts about that one because of some variation.

Dragonfyree
12-18-2013, 07:25 AM
I thought I read somewhere or saw on TV that Mary Sullivan's family accepts the new DNA match.

I still don't believe whoever the Boston Strangler was, that he murdered all the women, I think they're more unalike than alike, and the police just lumped them all together.

The Patricia Bissette one is really different from the others. The care taken with her body and her peacefully (as much as you can be after you're murdered) laying in her bed.

I think the older victims were different from the younger victims.

I also don't know why there was only DNA in Mary Sullivan's case?

STANDREID
01-03-2014, 08:40 AM
The last Strangler victim, 19-year-old Mary Sullivan, was found murdered 50 years ago tomorrow.

STANDREID
02-01-2014, 08:44 AM
DeSalvo continued to perpetrate Green Man crimes for months more however.

Susan Kelly
02-20-2014, 04:22 PM
First of all, my thanks to Standreid and Dragonfyree for their kind words about my book, "The Boston Stranglers." I'm very glad you enjoyed it!

I've read this discussion with great interest. If you have any question for me, particularly about the developments in the case last summer, I'll be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.

"The Boston Strangers" came out in a third edition last October (a Hallowe'en special, I guess) from Kensington Books. In it, I added an update that ran as far as 2012. There was a previous update to the second edition of the book that covered events in the case up through 2001. If you read it, you'll know that I was present at the 2001 autopsy of DeSalvo (observing through a window) and that DeSalvo's DNA was compared to two specimens of foreign DNA taken from Mary Sullivan's remains. DeSalvo's DNA didn't match either. One of those DNA samples did, however, match the DNA of a suspect in the Sullivan homicide who wasn't DeSalvo.

The third edition of "The Boston Stranglers" was in production at the time of DeSalvo's exhumation in 2013, so I couldn't include that material in the new edition of the book. BUT--I did write an article about it, which I posted at my Amazon Author Page. Go here to read it: amzn.to/18wHstx

Again, thanks. I look forward to answering any questions you might have.

Susan Kelly

STANDREID
02-20-2014, 04:57 PM
Hi Susan and welcome. Do you have an opinion on "fringe suspects" Charles Edward Terry and John Norman Collins?

STANDREID
02-21-2014, 12:17 PM
When I started this thread, I'm almost certain that I did not include DeSalvo's name in the title. Apparently, the Mods added the name for, perhaps, a Google aid.

STANDREID
02-21-2014, 01:04 PM
Hi Susan and welcome. Do you have an opinion on "fringe suspects" Charles Edward Terry and John Norman Collins?

Maybe even add Roy Smith to the question.

Susan Kelly
02-21-2014, 01:15 PM
Hi, Stan, and thanks for your welcome. It's nice to be here.

As far as Terry and Collins are concerned, their names never came up in the original case files, nor were they raised by any of the surviving investigators, forensic psychiatrists, or attorneys whom I interviewed. I focused on those suspects whom detectives had very good reason to consider viable. In the case of Beverly Samans, for example, a man gave a very detailed and accurate confession to her murder, far more so than did DeSalvo. This guy was arrested, but cut loose by a judge for reasons that were never explained.

As for Roy Smith, there was a great number of piece of physical evidence to connect him to the murder of Bessie Goldberg, but nothing to suggest he had anything to do with any of the other deaths.

This is not to say that neither Terry nor Collins wasn't involved in any of the murders. But there is nothing in the case files--and I think I'm the only person since about 1968 who's read them all--to implicate either one.

Susan Kelly
02-21-2014, 04:57 PM
I should have added that I don't consider the Boston Stranglings to have been serial killings. The murders were very much unalike in a number of important respects, and you all know that serial killers stick to a type of victim and generally have a set of rituals they perform. It's virtually impossible that someone who killed five elderly white women within a relatively short space of time would then take a break, and for his next victim pick a beautiful young black woman (Sophie Clark) to kill.

You can make a case that some of the older white women might have been murdered by the same person, but the killings that occurred after that seem to have had individual perpetrators.

STANDREID
02-21-2014, 05:34 PM
Thanks Susan. I agree there was probably more than one killer although maybe to not to the number that you think.

Was DeSalvo well persevered at the time of his 2001 exhumation? What is your opinion of the 2013 DNA "findings"?

Susan Kelly
02-21-2014, 06:04 PM
Actually, he was in rough shape. His face was covered by a mask of beetle husks, and some water had seeped into the coffin, despite the fact that it had been placed in a cement vault. None of this prevented the extraction of a lot of usable DNA samples. The autopsy was performed by Michael Baden, by the way.

Now, as to the 2013 DNA findings. I went over this in the article at my Amazon Author Page, "Was Albert DeSalvo Really the Boston Strangler?," but, in a nutshell: I was first puzzled why the authorities sent a detective to trail Timothy DeSalvo and obtain a DNA sample from him surreptitiously, when Richard DeSalvo, Albert's brother, had repeatedly offered to give them samples of his own DNA. Also, the blanket from Mary Sullivan's bed that the state lab tested first in 1964 was found then to have no sperm present Decades later, it was said to be untestable because of its state of physical deterioration. (At present, the authorities state that all of the other physical evidence in the Strangler murders has also deteriorated to the point that it's beyond testing. Indeed, they have said that they will not attempt to test any of it.) So how the blanket became testable last summer is an interesting question.

TBC

STANDREID
02-21-2014, 08:57 PM
I don't understand why there was a second DNA test. They aren't, to my knowledge, going to retest DNA in the A6 Murder thinking that this time it might come back that Hanratty was innocent.

Anyway, thanks Susan.

Susan Kelly
02-22-2014, 03:07 PM
I don't understand why there was a second DNA test. They aren't, to my knowledge, going to retest DNA in the A6 Murder thinking that this time it might come back that Hanratty was innocent.

Anyway, thanks Susan.


The exhumation and DNA testing done in 2001 were done in order to clarify whether DeSalvo could be tied to the Sullivan murder. (The Commonwealth of Massachusetts wasn't involved in this procedure.) Sullivan's remains had been exhumed earlier, and extensive testing of her body found on it 2 foreign DNA samples. When these were later compared to DeSalvo's DNA, there was no match. One of the foreign DNA samples taken from Sullivan's remains, however, apparently did match that of a prime suspect in her murder. This man wasn't DeSalvo, and he flunked two lie detector tests when initially questioned.

STANDREID
03-13-2014, 07:55 AM
Thanks for filling those blanks Susan. I'm guessing that this individual was an acquaintance of Mary.

Susan Kelly
03-16-2014, 04:12 PM
I go into the acquaintanceship a fair amount in my book, and in return to the subject on my Amazon author page. Again, thanks for your interest.

STANDREID
03-17-2014, 07:17 AM
Ah, I see what you mean. It had been about 12 years since I read your book.

Dragonfyree
04-05-2014, 07:25 AM
Susan, I just loved your book. It was a real eye opener, I was so surprised at how different the killings were.

I think the only problem I have with DNA - is when it doesn't match a suspect everyone always assumes that means they didn't do it. Since we don't know who the DNA belongs to, it could have gotten there in a completely innocent way, the real killer may not have left their DNA behind.

Don't they do something called touch DNA now, which I think can pick up stuff from really old, not so well preserved items. There must be something from the other crime scenes that this could be tried on. Many were found on beds, don't they still have the linens and blankets - as aren't these technically still unsolved crimes?

Knowing how the police handled this, it wouldn't surprise me if everything was trashed after they caught DeSalvo.

Susan Kelly
04-11-2014, 03:46 PM
Thank you so much, Dragonfyre. I really appreciate your comment.

The Boston Police Department said, most recently, that it has no plans to test any of the physical evidence in the other cases, because it has all deteriorated too badly. But, as you say, there are methods of so doing.

Another point is that the Commonwealth has in its possession--or should still have--the knife that was used to murder DeSalvo in prison, and surely his DNA would be available on the weapon, since it was quite heavily bloodstained. So would have been the sheets, blankets, et al., on the bed on which he lay when he was killed. So the whole covert operation to obtain Timothy DeSalvo's DNA for comparative purposes seems even more unnecessary than it actually was.

And yes, The Strangler Murders are still considered unsolved.

STANDREID
04-18-2014, 08:03 AM
And yes, The Strangler Murders are still considered unsolved.

The Strangler is #7 on my top classic unsolved murder list which is currently at 540 and I hope will get to at least 1000 with maybe an additional 25 "almost made its".