Boston Strangler’s final victim confirmed by DNA

Albert DeSalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler. File photo: AP
Albert DeSalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler. File photo: AP
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DNA taken from a surreptitiously retrieved water bottle has allowed police in the US to confirm the Boston Strangler’s final victim.

It was believed that Mary Sullivan, 19, was the last of 11 women murdered by the Strangler nearly 50 years ago. Albert DeSalvo confessed to the 11 killings, and an additional two murders, in the 1960s. His body will now be exhumed for further tests.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis yesterday said detectives had followed relatives of DeSalvo, waiting to collect something that could provide a DNA sample. That something turned out to be a plastic water bottle discarded by a relative.

District Attorney Daniel Conley said a DNA match was then made between DeSalvo and the murder of Sullivan. The 19-year-old was raped, murdered and “her body desecrated” in her home in 1964.

The Boston Strangler’s crimes terrorised the region and made national headlines.

DeSalvo was never convicted of them under a deal with then-Attorney General Edward Brooke. He was sentenced to life in prison for armed robberies and sexual assaults and was stabbed to death in jail.