SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 7, 2013

50 years ago, Boston Strangler struck in Salem

SALEM — A morning fog had burned off by early Sunday afternoon when a woman in hysterics called Salem police to report a murder in her apartment building on Lafayette Street.

Inspector John Moran, a Salem detective, was the first to arrive at the Langdon Apartments, a brick building at 224 Lafayette St. He entered the first-floor apartment around 1:30 p.m. with another officer who drove the police ambulance.

“The only thing I told Charlie was, ‘Jesus, don’t touch anything. We’ve got another strangler here,’” said Moran, now 89.

The date was Sept. 8, 1963.

The victim was Evelyn Corbin, a 58-year-old divorcee who lived alone and worked at the Sylvania lighting plant.

Corbin had breakfast with an elderly female tenant on the first floor that morning before going back to her apartment around 9:30 a.m., according to Salem police files. That was the last time she was seen alive.

When the neighbor, Flora Manchester, didn’t see Corbin leave for Mass and learned she had not picked up her Sunday paper at the Eaton Drug Store across the street, she grew suspicious.

She also told police that someone had tried to open her door that morning.

When police entered the apartment, they found Corbin on a bed, half-naked, with two silk stockings knotted around her neck.

The next day the story was all over the papers. The Boston Strangler had struck again. Since 1962, there had been eight victims, all women. Corbin made nine.

In 1964, police arrested 33-year-old Albert DeSalvo of Malden and charged him in connection with a string of robberies and rapes.

The following year, while being held in a facility for the criminally insane, DeSalvo confessed to being the Boston Strangler. In fact, he claimed 13 murders between 1962 and 1964, two more than the newspapers had pinned on him. He later recanted before being killed in prison.

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