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DNA links dead suspect to ‘Boston Strangler’ slaying; authorities plan to exhume his body

Posted Jul 11, 2013 12:40 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Nearly 50 years after a woman was killed in a homicide attributed to the so-called Boston Strangler, authorities say a "familial" DNA match has linked a suspect who confessed the crime to the 1964 slaying of Mary Sullivan.

An exhumation of the body of the suspect, Albert H. DeSalvo, is now planned, to see if a conclusive link can be established, according to the Boston Globe (req. req.) and Reuters.

However, there is widespread disagreement about whether the same suspect killed all 11 of the victims that have been attributed to the Boston Strangler and terrorized the city for a two-year period in the 1960s. So, even if DeSalvo is determined to be the culprit in Sullivan's death, that would not necessarily mean that all of the cases are solved.

"At this point in time, 50 years removed from those deaths and without the biological evidence that we have in the Sullivan case, that is a question that we cannot answer,’’ said Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. “But these developments give us a glimmer of hope that there can be one day finality, if not accountability, for the families of the ten other women murdered so cruelly in Boston, Cambridge, Lawrence, Lynn and Salem.’’

DNA from a water bottle used by a DeSalvo nephew was used to make the familial match, Reuters says.

DeSalvo, who was stabbed to death in 1973 while imprisoned on other charges, confessed to being the Boston Stranger but was never prosecuted because he was already incarcerated.

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