Saturday, November 24, 2007

Police Seek Added Clues in Strangling

As reported in the Bangor Daily News on March 20, 1965

A police team that included two Massachusetts detectives sought clues Friday that might link 11 unsolved stranglings in the Boston area to the murder of a chambermaid Thursday at the Bangor House.

Officials were still undecided Friday whether the Bangor slaying was the work of the “Boston Strangler.”

Mrs. Effie MacDonald, 54, a seven-year employee of the hotel, was beaten and strangled with one of her own nylon stockings. The partially nude body was found in an unoccupied third floor room. Police said the victim had been raped.

The Massachusetts detectives conferred at length Friday with Dr. Rudolph Eyerer, pathologist at the Eastern Maine General Hospital, who performed an autopsy on the victim Thursday evening.

Seek Evidence

They were seeking pathological evidence that would be characteristic of the Boston slayings.

Although many details of the Bangor strangling are similar to the Boston murders, there are important discrepancies.

In most of the Boston slayings, they reported nylon stockings were tightly knotted around the victim’s necks. In the Bangor murder, the stocking was wrapped tightly four times around the woman’s neck but was not tied.

Lt. Andrew J. Tunny Jr. and Detective Steve Delaney are both assigned to a special “strangler unit” organized by Massachusetts Attorney General Edward W. Brooke.

Heads Unit

Lt. Tunny is the head of the unit whose sole assignment is to solve the 11 strangulation murders in eastern Massachusetts since June of 1962. The last of the Massachusetts stranglings occurred on January 4, 1964, with 19-year-old Mary E. Sullivan of Boston as the victim.

Seven of the Boston strangler’s victims were middle-aged or elderly women.

Going further into the Boston angle, investigators are checking on the three Boston area guests who checked out of the hotel just prior to the murder. One has already been cleared of any possible suspicion, officials said. The other two are still being investigated, although police admit there is no positive evidence to link them to the crime.

Press Search

Police pressed their search Friday for a mysterious stranger reportedly seen in the third-floor corridor a short time before the crime was discovered. Other hotel employees were able to provide police with what they termed a good description.

Some fingerprints were found in the room Friday by a state police identification expert. Officials said, however, that it is still too early to tell if the prints are those of the strangler.

30 Questioned

In the meantime, Bangor police questioned at least 30 persons in connection with the crime. All were released, although some will be called back for further questioning.

Police made it clear that all persons being questioned are not considered possible suspects. Many persons, police point out, could possess valuable information without being aware of its importance.

Virtually all of the hotel’s employes have been questioned in an attempt to link seemingly unimportant and unrelated bits of information.

Capt. Clifton E. Sloan admits that police are without a “prime suspect,” but said that investigators have numerous leads to follow up. He said that the present phase of the investigation is slow and unspectacular but essential to good police work.

Mrs. MacDonald had been divorced for nine years and had no children. She lived alone in a housekeeping room at 3 Boynton Street. Neighbors and friends described her as a “very quiet and pleasant woman.”
SOURCE: Bangor Daily News, Bangor, Maine, March 20, 1965

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