THREE little girls were abducted, raped and strangled to death in a cold case that has never been solved – and the one of their only clues was the chilling link between their names.
The mysterious triple killing is dubbed The Alphabet Murders – as each girl who lose their young life had double initials, CC, WW and MM.
Carmen Colón (L), Wanda Walkowicz(M) and Michelle Maenza (R) were all raped and strangledCredit: Police handout
Kenneth Bianchi was one of the main suspects but was never chargedCredit: Police handout
All three victims, Carmen Colón, Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza, all 10-11 years old, were kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered.
And even more chillingly – their bodies were dumped in locations near Rochester, New York, which were also beginning from the same letter as their names.
Carmen was found in Churchville, Wanda in Webster and Michelle in Macedon.
It is one of America’s most enduring mysteries – and now criminologist and author Christopher Berry-Dee told The Sun Online that he believes he has cracked the case.
The investigator said he “100 per cent” believes the murders were all committed by the so-called Hillside Strangler, Kenneth Bianchi.
“Without doubt, he was involved in the case,” he told The Sun Online.
The first victim, ten-year-old Carmen vanished after running an errand for her family.
She was spotted entering a pharmacy on West Main Street and then going into a nearby parking lot.
Her half-naked body was discovered two days later.
An autopsy revealed the child had been raped, beaten on the head and eventually strangled.
Over a year later in April 1973, 11-year-old Wanda Walkowicz disappeared after buying groceries for her mum.
Her body was found in the town of Webster the following day.
An autopsy report later revealed that she had also been raped and strangled.
The third victim, Michelle Maenza, 11, was reported missing after she failed to return home from school.
The girl’s body was found two days later in Macedon.
Same as in the cases of the other two girls, Michelle had been raped and strangled to death.
All three cases share a series of similarities including the girls’ age and background.
They all came from Catholic families and were not doing well at school- they were cast as loners.
And despite the fact that there were five suspects, no one has ever been charged with the girls’ murder and the case remains unsolved .
However, Mr Berry-Dee is convinced the culprit is Bianchi.
The serial killer became one of the main suspects in the case mainly due to the colour and the type of car he drove.
The 71-year-old is currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in the Hillside Strangler murders.
Bianchi alongside his cousin Angelo Buono Jr., kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered a total of ten women and girls ranging in age from 12 to 28.
Berry-Dee who corresponded with Bianchi for a long time and eventually interviewed him in Washington State Penitentiary said he was convinced he was responsible for the girls’ death due to his conflicting statements and contradicting theories.
He told the Sun Online: “A lot of people say he was innocent.
“Without doubt, he was involved in the case. There were things about the case he said.
“Bianchi’s lengthy correspondence to me, his habitual lying which is the bedrock of his sado-sexual psychopathology, combined with his forgetting what he told me one week to say something entirely different soon after, convinced me specifically that he was the killer of the three young Rochester girls.”
“Over a period of time, he seemed to forget what he had told me a month or two earlier.
“Bianchi was asked to give a blood sample at the time and he refused- the first interesting thing is why would he refuse if he was innocent?
When asked about the bizarre way Bianchi chose his victims according to their initials he said: “It is rather spooky because he dumped their bodies very close to towns with similar matching names.
“In fact, double initials feature throughout his narrative -more than coincidentally too. “
Berry-Dee continues by explaining that another clue that made him suspect Bianchi was that lied to him about his blood grouping.
While the three girls were killed by a non-secretor, Bianchi insisted he was a secretor and claimed he had proof, which he failed to provide.
The FBI had already provided Berry-Dee with the blood grouping information so he confronted Bianchi during their interview- which infuriated him and made him aggressive.
Berry-Dee added: “I interviewed him in a small room, unshackled, he sat across the table and looked me in the eyes.
“He wasn’t smiling he was furious.
“He stood up…the guard opened the door and then, full of bravado, he snarled: ‘Don’t ever come near me again or I will rip your f****g head off.
“I did twice more and the rest is history.”
Police sketch of the suspect seen with Maenza before her murderCredit: Police handout
Carmen was abducted and brutally murderedCredit: Wikimedia Commons
Another clue that convinced Berry-Dee of Bianchi’s guilt was a comment made by his own mum, Francis.
She said that every time Bianchi was rejected by a girl he went out with, he would kill somebody.
Berry-Dee said: “‘Kenneth cannot handle rejection’, were her words to that effect and, in hindsight, this was proven to be correct.
“Circa the Alphabet Murders, Bianchi had dated and had been rejected by several more mature lasses, initially attracted by his handsome looks, they soon saw behind the mask until they
could not tolerate his lies and infidelity a day longer.
“This fits with his pathology too. He sought ‘revenge’ on the more vulnerable and he did just that.
“He had access and he knew how to charm children- as he did with the prostitutes in Los Angeles.
“The three girls in Rochester were left in a very similar position as the women in Los Angeles.
“They were stripped and they were thrown at the side of the road or in a ditch- in other words, he just dumped them like rubbish.”
Even though Bianchi denied the accusations, he wrote in excruciating detail about how he enjoyed being with girls as young as 11 years old in his manifesto.
He also included it in his letters to Berry-Dee, some of them are seen in his book Letters from Serial Killers: The Legion of the Damned.
Berry-Dee described it as “pseudo porn” and attributed it to Bianchi’s pathology.
Bianchi was born to a prostitute who abandoned him and “passed him on from one family to another.”
He was eventually adopted by a couple but remained a troubled child.
Berry Dee notes: “He was bed-wetting up to the age of 12-13, he became an isolated child, he would sit on his bed just staring out the window for hours on end just watching the trains go by.
“He was a failure at College and became a laughing stock amongst his peers.”
Bianchi, who wanted to become a police officer, was a talented liar and often posed up as different professions.
He reinvented himself as a psychologist by tricking students into handing in their credentials and then stealing them.
He also pretended to be a cop and even printed his own business cards as Captain Bianchi.
“At one point he even pretended to be Reverend Bianchi raising money for this church until a new warden took over and he stopped his scam.
He also claimed he was a member of the American Bar Association- even though he had never practised in his life.
Bianchi has repeatedly appealed the court’s decision but he was denied parole in 2010.
He will be eligible for parole in 2025.
And according to Berry-Dee he has become “obsessed” with making a film dedicated to his life to prove his innocence.
Berry-Dee who described him as a “very complex man” concluded: “I still have bad thoughts about that man today”.
The book Letters from Serial Killers: The Legion of the Damned can be found on Christopher Berry-Dee’s website.
And the author and criminologist is set to appear on CrimeCon held in Glasgow on September 10.
Christopher Berry-Dee (R) with Capt. Lynde B. Johnston, working on another case in Rochester, the Shawcross murdersCredit: Christopher Berry-Dee
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