The body of “The Boston Strangler” Albert DeSalvo will be exhumed following DNA tests that linked the killer to the 1964 murder of Mary Sullivan. The Irish American was the last of the 11 women whose deaths are attributed to the confessed murderer.
Sullivan was just 19 years old when she was raped and murdered at her Boston apartment on January 4, 1964. She had moved to the area just three days before her murder. A “Happy New Year” card was left at the victim’s feet.
Her nephew Casey Sherman described her as "the joy of her Irish Catholic family," and said she had left the quiet of her Cape Cod home for a new life in Boston in January 1964. A few days later she was dead.
Although DeSalvo had confessed to her murder, along with 10 others, he was never charged with the crimes as his confession was ruled inadmissible in court.
Casey Sherman wrote the book "A Rose for Mary," in 2003, casting doubt on DeSalvo's claim that he murdered Sullivan. However, on Thursday he said the new DNA evidence “brings an incredible amount of closure to myself and my mother.”
Speaking at a press conference Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley said DeSalvo’s body will be exhumed on Friday (July 12) to confirm the DNA match. The “familial” match was made from a bottle discard by one of DeSalvo’s nephews.
The New York Times reports that police tested seminal fluid that was found at the scene of Sullivan’s murder and matched the the DNA.
Conley said the new evidence would prove “once and for all” that DeSalvo, a onetime handyman, had killed Sullivan. It will also help close other cases DeSalvo confessed to.
The DeSalvo family’s attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp said they object to disturbing his remains. They say DeSalvo did not kill anyone and have offered to cooperate with the authorities.
DeSalvo was stabbed to death at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in 1973. He had been sentenced to life for unrelated convictions including armed robbery and sexual assault.
“The Boston Strangler” terrorized the area from 1962 to 1964 and was blamed for 11 women’s murders. They were all strangled with silk stockings and were aged from their teens to 75 years old.
Back in 2002 former prosecutor Julian Soshnick told CNN that DeSalvo “knew things that were not in the public domain.”
He said, “I’m absolutely certain that he was the Strangler, that he was without any doubt the Strangler.”
With the modern science of DNA some of “The Boston Strangler’s” cases may finally be closed.
Here’s the CBS report on the new DNA tests