PHILADELPHIA — An autopsy began Saturday on the exhumed remains of the confessed Boston Strangler in an attempt to identify his killer and possibly prove his innocence in the notorious murders.
The body of Albert DeSalvo was exhumed from his Massachusetts grave Friday and transported to a forensic laboratory at York College in central Pennsylvania.
"The family has been unsatisfied all these many years concerning the death of Albert DeSalvo and failure to find anyone guilty of the death," said James Starrs, professor of forensic sciences at George Washington University, who is heading a team of scientists performing the autopsy.
DeSalvo was blamed for the string of murders that spread fear in Boston between 1962 and 1964.
He confessed to the killings while serving a life sentence for unrelated crimes, but was never charged and recanted his confession before being stabbed to death in prison in 1973.
Along with their curiosity about his killer, the families of DeSalvo and Mary Sullivan, believed to be the last of the strangler’s 13 victims, don’t believe DeSalvo was the strangler. They’re seeking DNA and forensic evidence to make their case.
An autopsy on Sullivan’s body last year showed evidence inconsistent with DeSalvo’s account of her murder. The DeSalvo and Sullivan families believe DeSalvo hoped to make money from book and movie deals.
Starrs said while the investigation’s primarily goal is to identify DeSalvo’s killer — not to prove his innocence — the scientists will not look past any evidence they find.
"If there are any secondary benefits, we’ll be glad to take them," Starrs said.
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