The so-called "Alphabet murders" (also known as the "double initial murders") took place in the early 1970s in the Rochester, [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York"]New York - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] area; three young girls were attacked sexually and strangled. The case got its name from the fact that each of the three girls' first and last names started with the same letters (Carmen Colon, Wanda Walkowicz, and Michelle Maenza) and that the bodies were found in towns that started with the same letter as the girls' names (Colon in Churchville, Walkowicz in Webster and Maenza in Macedon).
While hundreds of people were questioned, the killer was never caught. One man, considered to be a "person of interest" in the case (he committed suicide six weeks after the last of the killings) was cleared in 2007 by DNA testing. In the case of Carmen Colon, her uncle was also considered a suspect until his suicide in 1991.
- Carmen Colon, 11, disappeared November 16, 1971. She was found two days later in Churchville, 12 miles from where she was last seen.
- Wanda Walkowicz, 11, disappeared April 2, 1973. She was found the next day at a rest area off State Route 104, seven miles from Rochester.
- Michelle Maenza, 10, disappeared November 26, 1973. She was found two days later in Macedon, 15 miles from Rochester.
Another suspect was [ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Bianchi[/ame], a Rochester native who later moved to Los Angeles, and with his cousin [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angelo_Buono"]Angelo Buono, Jr. - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] committed the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillside_Strangler"]Hillside Strangler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] murders between 1977 and 1978. Bianchi was never charged with the Alphabet murders, but many view him as one of the more viable suspects.
In 2001, the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Channel"]Discovery Channel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] aired a program revisiting the murders, and a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Alphabet_Killer"]The Alphabet Killer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame] based on the murders is scheduled for release in 2008.
[ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabet_murders"]Alphabet murders - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
Last edited by Salem; 12-11-2011 at 12:32 PM. Reason: prefix
One thing is sure:The killer had to do some research before killing.
There was a book written by Agatha Christie called the ABC Murders and it is basically the exact scenario. People whose first and last name begin with the same initial are murdered in a place that also bears that initial. Christie's killer started with A and went in order of the alphabet.
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I wonder why the killer did not go in alphabetical order though, and why did he stop? I grew up in the area, but was very young when this happened, and do not remember much. I will say that all the locations where the bodies were dumped were more rural areas, outside the city of Rochester.
5188.8 in reply to 5188.1
I'm writing this from memory, so I may not be remembering everything correctly.
On one of the True Crime shows, they did an episode on this series of murders. A group of investigators looked over the evidence. They felt that one murder was probably committed by a male relative of the girl. One of her male relatives fell under police scrutiny and committed suicide shortly before he was to be questioned in the case.
The other 2 murders were related, they thought. IIRC, both girls had been taken for a meal or a treat at a fast food outlet shortly before they were killed. The initials aspect was just a coincidence, they thought.
Bianchi was ruled out as a good suspect for some reason.
That's all I remember about the cases themselves, though in a sad coincidence, one of the meetings of the investigators took place on Sept. 11, 2001.
A couple of things that I picked up on from various websites on these murders:
1)The letters of the alphabet were 3, 13 and 23 (the 3 numbers may have been significant and the reason why there were only 3.
2)More than likely the person or persons moved. (so it would be great if anyone has a copy of the newspaper (to scan) or the website with the composite drawing)of the suspect.
3)Could this (same type of incident) have occured in Canada as well, since Webster is so close to the Canada line. And perhaps the U.S. and Canada did not communicate.
I really think are other cases that do not fall into the same pattern with the letter connection that this person is responsible for committing. I think this murderer completely changed his MO or modified it so it didnt draw so much attention. I wondered if these girls attended a camp or church or where part of a 4 H group. There was some list this guy was reading names from that included their addresses. A social sevice worker in a tri county area working with the state school dept? I have never seen anything as far as a profile done for this guy but I often wondered if they thought he had killed or commited other crimes like rape and assault before.
A composite sketch was made of the suspect and published. A description of his car was also published. If the killer was to follow the pattern CC, MM, WW, then double G's (GG) would be next. A short time after the "triple digit" murders a local man who was a smitten image of the published composite, and had a car that matched the description of the triple digit suspect and lived in the area was arrested for abducting and attempted rape, of 2 nine year old girls in a Gates park. The news mentioned that he would be questioned "about other local sexual attacks on girls, but police were not commenting". This WOULD perhaps in his mind qualify as a 2G or double G as it would be TWO GIRLS or GG and at a Gates park. Thus this could qualify as a tripple G. He was convicted. Years later he was released and AGAIN he commited another sexual crime and was sent back to prison. He was released on May 27, 2010.
I have always felt that he commited the tripple digit murders based upon his "lifestyle", but mostly because of his exact likeness to the composite sketech and car he had at the time (brown 4 door sedan). My guess is that police never had enough evidence to link him to those crimes.
Last edited by Clinton; 08-12-2010 at 08:12 AM.
Here is a copy and paste of part of the news story about the individual I mention in my above comments.
In August 1974, Theodore F. Given abducted two 9-year-old girls in a Gates park and attempted to rape one of them.
He eventually pleaded guilty and was sent to prison for 7 ½ to 15 years. But in October 1986 — 1 ½ years after he was released from prison — he broke into a house in Parma and raped an 11-year-old girl.
He pleaded guilty again and was sent back to prison for 12 ½ to 25 years.
Given, 63, will be released May 27 after serving the maximum time allowed under his sentence. In a court proceeding last week, he was found to be a high-risk sex offender.
This should help locating T.G on a sex offender list.
This is one scary guy. Going to make my kid change her name to Kevin on facebook. It wont solve all my problems but I will feel better for 30 seconds.
Last edited by Soulmagent; 08-12-2010 at 08:45 AM. Reason: ETA
I recently wrote a book, "[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Alphabet-Killer-Double-Initial-Murders/dp/081170632X/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281880911&sr=8-3"]Alphabet Killer: The True Story of the Double Initial Murders[/ame]," which comes out next week. I researched all of the earliest news articles available to create a timeline of events and remind the public of points long forgotten or tainted by time. I also spoke to the lead investigator on the case (who just retired this past May). It's still an open, active case, and he told me that "to find the Double Initial killer or killers would be the Holy Grail of police work." I've posted more information on my website, [ame="http://www.thealphabetkiller.com"]www.thealphabetkiller.com[/ame], including portions of the final manuscript that were cut from the book. While researching the case, and obsessing over it even in my sleep, I came up with my own theories regarding whom might be involved or people that should be questioned again, if possible; but I was only able to carefully hint at those ideas without coming right out and saying it, for obvious legal reasons, in my book. Keep up the great (and important) work, fellow Web Sleuths!
(Left to Right)
Wanda Walkowicz, age 11. Body found in Webster.
Carmen Colon, age 10. Body found on the Chili-Riga border.
Michelle Maenza, age 11. Found in the town of Macedon.
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The above is one of the best explanations i have ever read!
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Last edited by :+:MrTT:+:; 08-15-2010 at 11:46 AM.
after the second murder, if LE would have connected the dots and seen the similarities in the letters, they may have very well, prevented the third murder.
the killer may-have seen the connection in the press after the first one, and then did some research to find the next two victims. some kind of registry, city public registry to where the killer could have found the names of the next two victims.
And can you tell us, if when the second and third body was found, was there a calling card left behind, calling card of the alphabet. the kind you teach to young children, and did he leave more then one card on the second or third victim, to attach the first to himself as being the perpetrator.
Thank you Cherie! I can't wait to read it
Reading this, I see that the killer didn't go in the sequence of the alphbet according to the dates of crime. C - W - M. Also 2 of them happened in the same month and two years and ten days apart.
Could it have significance?
After reading a few of the articles on this I see a discrepancy with the years of the last 2 murders. One stated the last two as 73' and another article stated 72' and 73'.
If the last 2 happened in 73' that is one heck of a "cooling off" period for a killer to take from the first murder. Was he locked up on other crimes or did he move away and then come back. If he moved to another state or across the state, did he committ other murders and it was never tied as a relation to these. Alot of agencies don't communicate now, so I don't expect they did back then.
Last edited by Debbie Miller; 08-16-2010 at 10:14 PM.
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One of the fascinating, less mentioned, things I found while researching this book was that the letters of the victims' initials (and the towns where their bodies were found) corresponded to the 3rd, 13th, and 23rd letters of the alphabet....integers of tens on the 3's. Also, Carmen was last seen running near Exit 3 toward Churchville, and Michelle went to Rochester city school no. 33. I list other '3' coincidences in the book and on my website (www.thealphabetkiller.com). In answer to the question of whether a 'calling card' was left at the sites of the 2nd and 3rd victim....no, at least not from what I gathered in my discussions with the lead investigator on the case (who retired in May). In fact, he said many of them (the authorities/investigators) believe that Carmen's was an isolated incident perpetrated by a relative; while the other two were [U]possibly[U] the work of the same individual. I have my own suspicions and tried to make subtle suggestions to who I thought should be further investigated in my book, but you have to be really, really careful as an author with these sort of things (legally). So I never came right out and said who I thought was responsible for any of them. (But the hints are in there, or I wouldn't have dropped names.) I hope that some of the 'new generation' of investigators will read over the book, and get some fresh insight on long-forgotten info that is buried in their stacks of folders, if it's still even in there at all.
Debbie, Carmen was abducted in November 1971, Wanda in April 1973, and Michelle in November 1973.
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Hopefully they still have evidence (samples of semen, the cat hair) so they can start from scratch. Forensic technology has come to great new levels since this time and we can only hope the killer will be brought to justice.
Cheri, I will have to read your book, it sounds like a good read.
To catch a criminal, you must think like one. (Professor Hamre)
The cat hair found on Carmen was "light-colored," while the cat hair found on Wanda and Michelle was definitely "white-colored." Hopefully, they've submitted the cat hair from all three victims, as well as the cat hair found in one suspect's vehicle (the fireman) for DNA comparison studies. If they were to find that the cat hair on at least the 2nd and 3rd victims was identical, it would settle the question of whether Michelle and Wanda had the same killer. Semen gathered at Wanda's crime sight is the only semen that remains to be dna tested--the semen from the other two crime sights is no longer available (read, it got discarded or misplaced). But they DO have at least palm prints still left from Michelle's case.