When you associate serial killers with the city of Boston, only one thing should come to mind: The Boston Strangler.
Now, before I begin, I just want to make it clear that no one was ever found guilty of the murders that the Strangler committed, though there were many people that claimed responsibility, including one Albert Henry DeSalvo (who I will get back to later in the blog). But first, let’s talk about the Strangler himself, whoever he may be.
His crimes took place during the 60s, and like many of the other serial killers we have discussed, the Strangler was not only a murderer, but also a rapist. However, his victims were not always young, attractive females that seem to be such easy targets. His first victim was a 55-year-old woman named Anna E. Selsers. At the initial time of the crime, it was deemed a suicide. The story later changed to a potential burglary gone wrong.
Anna was actually the youngest of the Stranglers initial victims. Within the next two or so months, he was said to have killed 5 other women, all in their elderly years, and all deemed to be killed by method of strangling.
However, there was a big change in the Strangler’s victimization towards the end of that year. He began killing young teenage girls, which completely threw off any police that were investigating the case. Could there be two serial killers in the city of Boston, all in the same year?
Police began to look at men like Arnold Wallace (who was deemed legally insane and spent most of his time in a mental facility), Lewis Barnett (who was the very first suspect in the murder), and then Albert DeSalvo came into the spotlight.
DeSalvo was already a registered sex offender, child molester, and rapist. He dealt with charges that spanned over the multitude of his life. During his last arrest, he not only claimed responsibility for the sexual assault allegations made against him, but also for being the Boston Strangler.
At this point, police wanted so desperately to charge DeSalvo and close the case for good, but there was too much evidence from the crime scenes that would leave DeSalvo an innocent man if it went to court. Unfortunately, they never could find the true identity of the Boston Strangler.
Okay, because this blog is also about a popular TV show, let’s briefly talk about Criminal Minds. Specifically Season 11, Episode 19: Tribute.
DISCLAIMER: If you have not yet seen this episode and hate spoilers, watch it before reading on!!
In this episode, Michael Peterson is the killer. He was known as being a serial rapist, and strangled his victims to death. He was only caught by the BAU after they concluded he was a Boston Strangler copycat, therefore the patterns of the Strangler led the team right to him. Interestingly enough, Emily Prentiss actually mentions that she believes the Boston Strangler was DeSalvo. This is a fascinating episode that seems to be a bit more personal to Prentiss. Perhaps she has done work in relation to the Strangler in the past?
Although I have a pretty solid theory as to the true identity of the Strangler, I will leave you guys to make your own assumptions.