Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Boston Strangler

A Young Victim

Boston got a three month breather, which gave the police a chance to check out absolutely everyone they wanted to check out. Nothing much came of this flurry of diligent activity except a long list of people who probably were not the Strangler.

Sophie Clark
Sophie Clark

Vacation ended December 5, 1962, when Sophie Clark, a popular and attractive 21-year-old African-American student at the Carnegie Institute of Medical Technology was found by her two roommates. The apartment Sophie shared was at 315 Huntington Avenue in the Back Bay area, a couple of blocks away from Anna Slesers' apartment.

Sophie lay nude with her legs spread wide apart in the living room strangled by three of her own nylon stockings which had been knotted and tied very tightly around her neck. Her half-slip had also been tied around her neck. There was evidence of sexual assault and semen was found on the rug near her body.

There was no sign of forcible entry, but Sophie was very security conscious and had insisted on having a second lock on the apartment door.  She was so cautious that she even questioned friends that came to the door before she let them in, yet her killer had somehow convinced her to let him in. Sophie had struggled with her murderer. The killer had rummaged through the drawers in the apartment and had examined her collection of classical records.

Sophie had been writing a letter to her boyfriend when she was interrupted, probably by the Strangler. She did not date anyone in the Boston area and was very reserved with the opposite sex.

There were some differences now that had not surfaced in the earlier Strangler murders. Sophie was black and she was young and she did not live alone. Also, for the first time, there was evidence of semen at the scene of the crime.

When police questioned the neighbors, Mrs. Marcella Lulka who lived in the same building mentioned that around 2:20 that afternoon a man had knocked on her door and said that the super had sent him to see her about painting her apartment. He then told her that he'd have to fix her bathroom ceiling and complimented her on her figure. "Have you ever thought of modeling?" he asked her.

She put her finger to her lips and the man became angry. His character seemed to change completely.

"My husband is sleeping in the next room," she told him. He then said he had the wrong apartment and left hurriedly. She described him as between 25 and 30 years old, of average height and with honey-colored hair, wearing a dark jacket and dark green trousers.

Was this the Strangler? Very likely, since the building superintendent had not dispatched any one to check on his tenants. Also, 2:30 in the afternoon was approximately the time that Sophie Clark had been murdered.


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