The terrifying mystery of The Alphabet Murders, in which three little girls are kidnapped, raped and killed “because of their names”.

THREE little girls have been kidnapped, raped and strangled to death in a mysterious case that has never been solved – and one of their only clues was the chilling connection between their names.

The mysterious triple murder is dubbed The Alphabet Murders – as every girl who loses her young life had double initials, CC, WW and MM.

Carmen Colón (L), Wanda Walkowicz (M) and Michelle Maenza (R) were all raped and strangled


Carmen Colón (L), Wanda Walkowicz (M) and Michelle Maenza (R) were all raped and strangledCredit: Police handout
Kenneth Bianchi was a prime suspect but was never charged


Kenneth Bianchi was a prime suspect but was never chargedCredit: Police handout

All three victims, Carmen Colón, Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza, all 10-11 years old, were abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered.

And even more chilling – their bodies were dumped at locations near Rochester, New York, which also began with the same letters as their names.

Carmen was found in Churchville, Wanda in Webster, and Michelle in Macedon.

It’s one of America’s most enduring mysteries – and now criminologist and author Christopher Berry-Dee has told The Sun Online he thinks he’s cracked the case.

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The investigator said he “100 percent” believes the murders were all committed by so-called Hillside Strangler, Kenneth Bianchi.

“Without a doubt he was involved in the case,” he told The Sun Online.

The first victim, 10-year-old Carmen, disappeared after running an errand for her family.

She was seen entering a pharmacy on West Main Street and then heading into a nearby parking lot.

Her half-naked body was discovered two days later.

An autopsy revealed that the child had been raped, hit on the head and finally strangled.

Over a year later, in April 1973, 11-year-old Wanda Walkowicz disappeared after buying groceries for her mother.

Her body was found in the town of Webster the next day.

An autopsy report later revealed that she had also been raped and strangled.

The third victim, Michelle Maenza, 11, was reported missing after failing to return home from school.

The girl’s body was found in Macedonia two days later.

As in the cases of the other two girls, Michelle had been raped and choked to death.

All three cases share a number of similarities, including the girls’ ages and backgrounds.

They all came from Catholic families and did not do well in school – they were labeled as loners.

And despite the fact that there were five suspects, no one has ever been charged with the girls’ murders and the case remains unsolved.

However, Mr Berry-Dee is convinced that Bianchi is the culprit.

The serial killer became one of the prime suspects in the case largely because of the color and type of car he was driving.

The 71-year-old is currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in the Hillside Strangler murders.

Bianchi, along with his cousin Angelo Buono Jr., abducted, raped, tortured and murdered a total of ten women and girls between the ages of 12 and 28.

Berry-Dee, who corresponded with Bianchi for a long time and eventually interviewed him at Washington State Penitentiary, said he was convinced he was responsible for the girls’ deaths because of his conflicting testimonies and conflicting theories.

He told the Sun Online: “A lot of people say he’s innocent.

“There is no doubt that he was involved in the case. There were things about the case, he said.

“Bianchi’s long correspondence with me, his habitual lying that is the basis of his sadosexual psychopathology, combined with his forgetting what he had said to me for a week only to say something else entirely shortly thereafter, firmly convinced me that he was the killer the three were young Rochester girls.”

“Over time, he seemed to forget what he had said to me a month or two earlier.

“Bianchi was then asked to provide a blood sample and he refused – the first interesting thing is why would he refuse if he were innocent?

When asked about the bizarre way Bianchi chose his victims by their initials, he said, “It’s pretty creepy because he dumped their bodies very close to towns with similar matching names.

“In fact, double initials appear in his story – more than coincidentally too.”

Berry-Dee goes on to explain that another clue that made him suspect Bianchi was lying to him about his blood type.

While the three girls were killed by a non-Secretor, Bianchi insisted he was a Secretor, claiming he had evidence he could not provide.

The FBI had already provided Berry-Dee with the blood type information, so he confronted Bianchi during her interview – which made him angry and aggressive.

Berry-Dee added: “I interviewed him in a small room, untied, he was sitting across the table, looking into my eyes.

“He wasn’t smiling, he was angry.

“He got up… the guard opened the door and then he growled, full of bravado, ‘Don’t ever come near me again or I’ll rip your frigging head off.

“I did it twice more and the rest is history.”

Police sketch of the suspect seen with Maenza before her murder


Police sketch of the suspect seen with Maenza before her murderCredit: Police handout
Carmen was kidnapped and brutally murdered


Carmen was kidnapped and brutally murderedPhoto credit: Wikimedia Commons

Another clue that convinced Berry-Dee of Bianchi’s guilt was a comment from his own mother, Francis.

She said that whenever Bianchi was rejected by a girl he was dating, he would kill someone.

Berry-Dee said, “’Kenneth can’t handle rejection’ was what she said on that score and in hindsight it turned out to be true.

“Around the Alphabet murders, Bianchi had been dating and rejected by several more mature girls, initially attracted by his handsome looks, soon seeing them behind the mask until they did
couldn’t take his lies and infidelity another day.

“That also fits with his pathology. He sought ‘vengeance’ on those more vulnerable and he did just that.

“He had access and he knew how to charm children – like he did with the prostitutes in Los Angeles.

“The three girls in Rochester were in a very similar position to the women in Los Angeles.

“They were stripped and thrown on the side of the road or in a ditch – in other words, he just dumped them like garbage.”

Though Bianchi denied the allegations, he wrote in his manifesto in excruciating detail about how he enjoyed being with girls as young as 11.

He also included it in his letters to Berry-Dee, some of which can be seen in his book Letters from Serial Killers: The Legion of the Damned.

Berry-Dee described it as “pseudo-porn” and attributed it to Bianchi’s pathology.

Bianchi was born to a prostitute who abandoned him and “passed him on from one family to another”.

He was eventually adopted by a couple but remained a troubled child.

Berry Dee notes: “He was wetting until he was 12 or 13, he became an isolated kid, he sat on his bed for hours just staring out the window just to watch the trains go by.

“He was a failure in college and a laughing stock among his peers.”

Bianchi, who wanted to be a police officer, was a gifted liar and often posed as different professions.

He reinvented himself as a psychologist, getting students to turn in their transcripts and then stealing them.

He also pretended to be a cop and even printed his own business cards as Captain Bianchi.

“At one point he even pretended to be Reverend Bianchi who was raising money for this church until a new overseer took over and he stopped his fraud.

He also claimed he was a member of the American Bar Association – although he had never practiced in his life.

Bianchi has repeatedly appealed the court’s decision, but in 2010 he was denied parole.

He is eligible for parole in 2025.

And according to Berry-Dee, he’s “obsessed” with making a film dedicated to his life to prove his innocence.

Berry-Dee, who described him as a “very complex man”, concluded: “I still have bad thoughts about that man to this day”.

The book Letters from Serial Killers: The Legion of the Damned can be found on Christopher Berry-Dee’s website.

And the author and criminologist will be appearing at CrimeCon in Glasgow on September 10th.

Christopher Berry-Dee (R) with Captain Lynde B. Johnston who is working on another case in Rochester, the Shawcross murders


Christopher Berry-Dee (R) with Captain Lynde B. Johnston who is working on another case in Rochester, the Shawcross murdersCredit: Christopher Berry-Dee The terrifying mystery of The Alphabet Murders, in which three little girls are kidnapped, raped and killed “because of their names”.


DevanCole is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DevanCole joined Dailynationtoday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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