Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Capital City Murders

A Killer Emerges

Christine Rothschild entered the University of Wisconsin in 1967 after having graduated with honors from Senn High School in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents and three sisters lived in a modest home on Chicago's North Side, where her father worked as president of a local brokerage firm. Christine enjoyed her classes and had hopes of becoming a journalist upon graduation. She was an attractive young woman, with long blondish-brown hair and often spent her summers modeling for department store catalogs.

Sterling Hall where Christine Rothschild's body was found (David Lohr)
Sterling Hall where Christine
Rothschild's body was found
(David Lohr)

During spring of 1968, the weather was miserably cold and wet, but Christine kept upbeat by looking forward to a long awaited visit with her family in Chicago. Unfortunately fate intervened and 18-year-old Christine became the first victim of the Capital City serial killer. On a dreary May evening in 1968, a male student discovered her body hidden behind some shrubbery outside of Sterling Hall, a mathematics building located on North Carter Street. After going over the crime scene, investigators theorized that Christine had been killed early that morning while out jogging. The coroner ruled that she had died as a result of at least 12 stab wounds to the chest. As the summer wore on, investigators looked into several suspects, but none proved to be the killer. At one point they offered a $5,000 reward for information relating to the murder, but that also proved to be futile. With no new suspects, a murder weapon, or any leads to follow, the case was placed into a "cold case" folder.

A year after the bombing of the UW Administration Building, on August 24, 1970 Sterling Hall, the building next to the spot where Christine Rothschild's body was found, was bombed and a 33-year-old researcher died as a result of the blast. Soon investigators had four suspects in the crime and federal warrants were issued at Madison charging four men with sabotage, destruction of government property, and conspiracy. Three of the four were later arrested and convicted of the bombing.



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