Watch CBS News

After 49 Years, Police May 'Have Their Man' In Mary Sullivan's Murder

BOSTON (CBS) – It's taken nearly 50 years, but the murder of Mary Sullivan may finally be solved.

Sullivan, 19, was raped and murdered in her Charles Street apartment on January 4, 1964, just three days after she moved to the city from the Cape.

It was long believed she was the final victim of the notorious Boston Strangler.

Read: Boston Strangler Timeline

Longtime suspect Albert DeSalvo confessed to the 11 Boston Strangler murders and two others, but he was never charged because the confession was ruled inadmissible in court.

Albert DeSalvo
Albert DeSalvo (WBZ-TV file image)

However, DeSalvo was sentenced to life in prison on unrelated charges involving armed robberies and sexual assaults. He was murdered in jail in 1973.

Sullivan's nephew, former WBZ-TV news producer Casey Sherman, had questions and doubts about DeSalvo's confession. He wrote a book on the case, "A Rose for Mary: The Hunt for the Real Boston Strangler" pointing out other possible suspects

"This was one of the biggest cases in the history of American crime," Sherman told reporters Thursday, after investigators announced new DNA testing linked DeSalvo to Sullivan's murder.

DeSalvo's remains will be exhumed this week for a DNA sample and Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said he expects an exact match.

Casey Sherman
Casey Sherman talks to reporters, July 11, 2013. (WBZ-TV)

"I only go where the evidence leads," Sherman said, "and with science being the independent arbiter of guilt or innocence in truth and justice, the information that I've received and have pertained, based on what these teams have found provides an incredible amount of closure to myself and my mother. We're not there yet. I think once the exhumation is done and there's a definitive answer – yes or no, but we're getting there."

"I just want to say that," Sherman said, pausing to hold back tears, "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 and it's amazing to me, today, to understand that people really did care about what happened to my aunt, a 19-year-old girl heinously murdered in 1964 and it's taken 49 years for police to legitimately say they've got their man and they'll probably be able to say that very soon and I want to thank them for their diligence and persistence in this case."


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.