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Boston Strangler Case Break: DNA Links Suspect DeSalvo to Victim

Image: Boston Strangler Case Break: DNA Links Suspect DeSalvo to Victim

By David Ogul   |   Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 02:47 PM

Nearly a half-century after the Boston Strangler terrorized women in the region with a series of brutal killings, authorities say they finally have physical evidence linking confessed murderer Albert DeSalvo to the case.

Seminal fluid taken from the body of the Boston Strangler’s last victim, Mary Sullivan, was recently matched with DNA taken from a water bottle used by a DeSalvo nephew, authorities said in a news conference Thursday. Testing led to a “familial link” with 99.9 percent certainly, but the Boston Police Department has secured permission from a judge to exhume DeSalvo’s body and get a definitive answer.

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DeSalvo confessed to those homicides and others but was never charged with or convicted of them; statements were made to a fellow inmate and were ruled inadmissible in court. DeSalvo was killed in prison in 1973 after being sentenced to life in prison on unrelated convictions for armed robbery and sexual assault in a separate series of nonfatal attacks on women.

At the Thursday news briefing, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley was joined by Mary Sullivan’s nephew, Casey Sherman.

“I’ve lived with Mary’s memory every day, my whole life. And I didn’t know, nor did my mother know, that other people were living with her memory, as well,” NPR quoted Sherman as saying. He thanked investigators for their hard work and for not giving up on the case.

Sherman wrote a book about his aunt’s mother titled "A Rose For Mary."

“There was no forensic evidence to link Albert DeSalvo to Mary Sullivan’s murder until today,” Conley said at the news conference.

The New York Times noted that even if DNA taken from DeSalvo’s remains provide a conclusive match, doubts will remain about whether he was the one and only Boston Strangler, or one of several killers.

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