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Alphabet Killer
Also known as: Double Initial Killer
Number of victims: 3
Span of killings: 1971–1973.
Country:  United States
State(s): Rochester, New York
Date apprehended: Unapprehended

The so-called "Alphabet murders" (also known as the "double initial murders") took place in the early 1970s in the Rochester, New York area; three young girls were raped and strangled. The case got its name from the fact that each of the three girls' first and last names started with the same letters (Carmen Colon, Wanda Walkowicz, and Michelle Maenza) and that the bodies were found in towns that started with the same letter as the girls' names (Colon in Churchville, Walkowicz in Webster and Maenza in Macedon).

  • Carmen Colon, 11, disappeared November 16, 1971. She was found two days later 12 miles from where she was last seen. Although found in the town of Riga[1], the village of Churchville is the town's center of population, and the town of Chili is nearby.
  • Wanda Walkowicz, 11, disappeared April 2, 1973. She was found the next day at a rest area off State Route 104 in Webster, seven miles from Rochester.
  • Michelle Maenza, 10, disappeared November 26, 1973. She was found two days later in Macedon, 15 miles from Rochester.

While hundreds of people were questioned, the killer was never caught. One man, considered to be a "person of interest" in the case (he committed suicide six weeks after the last of the murders) was cleared in 2007 by DNA testing.[2] In the case of Carmen Colon, her uncle was also considered a suspect until his suicide in 1991.[3]

Another suspect was Kenneth Bianchi, a Rochester native who later moved to Los Angeles, and with his cousin Angelo Buono committed the Hillside Strangler murders between 1977 and 1978.[4] Bianchi was never charged with the Alphabet murders, and he has repeatedly tried to have investigators officially clear him from suspicion.

In 2001, the Discovery Channel aired a program revisiting the murders.[5] A 2008 film called The Alphabet Killer was very loosely based on the murders.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Craig, Gary (March 1, 2009). "'Double initial' murders remain mystery after 35 years". Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester: Gannett): pp. 1A, 8A. Retrieved March 2, 2009. "Two days later, her crumpled body was found in a gully, lying against a rock, along an infrequently traveled road in the town of Riga, near the Chili border."  
  2. ^ Double Initial DNA Test Clears Man, R News, February 21, 2007.
  3. ^ Cawthorne, Nigel (2007). The Mammoth Book of Killers at Large. UK: Robinson. pp. 209. ISBN 978-1-84529-631-5.  
  4. ^ Craig, Gary (March 2, 2009). "Serial killer Bianchi denies he is 'double initial' slayer". Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester: Gannett): p. 6A. Retrieved March 2, 2009. "Bianchi, now 57, was a suspect in the double initial killings because he lived in Rochester in the early 1970s and was a security guard."  
  5. ^ Murder Reopened—The Alphabet Killer @ Yahoo! TV
  6. ^ The Alphabet Killer at the Internet Movie Database

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