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The Alphabet Murders: Rochester’s Unsolved Serial Killings


The city of Rochester, New York, holds a chilling secret within its history: the Alphabet Murders. This series of unsolved killings, which occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s, has captivated the minds of investigators, residents, and true crime enthusiasts alike for decades. The victims, seemingly chosen at random, were brutally murdered, leaving behind a trail of unanswered questions and a sense of unease that still lingers in the city’s shadow. The murders remain unsolved, and the identity of the perpetrator continues to be a mystery.

The Alphabet Murders stand as a stark reminder of the dark side of human nature and the enduring power of unsolved crimes. These killings left a lasting impact on the community, creating a climate of fear and suspicion that persists even today. Join us as we delve into the chilling details of this unsolved case, exploring the evidence, the suspects, and the enduring mystery that continues to haunt Rochester.

Table of Contents

The Victims

The Alphabet Murders claimed the lives of three innocent individuals:

  • Carmen Colon: On March 19, 1968, 10-year-old Carmen Colon was found murdered in a wooded area near the Genesee River. She had been strangled, and her body was discovered partially clothed.

  • Wanda Walkowicz: On March 16, 1969, 11-year-old Wanda Walkowicz was discovered dead in a park near her home. Her body had been strangled, and she was found partially clothed, similar to Colon’s death.

  • Michelle Maenza: On July 16, 1971, 10-year-old Michelle Maenza disappeared from a park. Her body was found later that day in the same park, having been strangled and partially clothed.

The similarities in the victims’ ages, genders, and the manner of their deaths, alongside the fact that each victim’s first name began with a different letter of the alphabet (C, W, and M), led to the grim moniker “The Alphabet Murders.”

The Investigation

The initial response from the Rochester Police Department was immediate, but the investigation quickly stalled due to a lack of concrete evidence. Detectives focused on potential suspects, including known criminals and individuals who had exhibited unusual behavior in the vicinity of the murders. However, without a clear motive or connection between the victims, the investigation remained frustratingly inconclusive.

The alphabet connection, while intriguing, proved to be more of a macabre coincidence than a valuable clue. The seemingly random order of the letters, combined with the fact that the victims had no prior connection to each other, made it difficult to decipher any meaning or pattern.

Despite the lack of concrete evidence, the investigation generated several theories and potential suspects. Some investigators theorized that the murders were committed by a serial killer who targeted young girls, while others believed the killings were connected to a drug ring or other criminal activity.

The public, gripped by fear and anxiety, closely followed the investigation. The murders became a constant topic of conversation, and residents felt a sense of vulnerability in their own neighborhoods. The Alphabet Murders cast a dark cloud over the city, and the unsolved case became a symbol of the community’s shared trauma.

The Unsolved Mystery

Despite decades of investigation, the Alphabet Murders remain unsolved. Despite advancements in forensic technology, investigators have not been able to identify a suspect with certainty.

The lack of closure has left the families of the victims grappling with grief and unanswered questions. The absence of a definitive answer has also created a lingering sense of unease in Rochester.

The case continues to be reviewed periodically by investigators and cold case units, but the elusive killer has never been apprehended. The legacy of the Alphabet Murders serves as a stark reminder of the potential for unimaginable violence, and the enduring impact of unsolved crimes.


Q1: What were the specific characteristics of the victims?

A1: All three victims were young girls, ranging in age from 10 to 11 years old. They had no apparent connection to each other, and their deaths appeared to be random.

Q2: Why is the case called “The Alphabet Murders”?

A2: The case received its name due to the fact that the first names of each victim began with a different letter of the alphabet. The victims were Carmen Colon, Wanda Walkowicz, and Michelle Maenza.

Q3: Are there any known suspects in the case?

A3: While there have been several individuals of interest over the years, no definitive suspect has ever been identified.

Q4: What is the current status of the investigation?

A4: The case remains open and under review by law enforcement agencies.

Q5: What theories have been proposed to explain the murders?

A5: Theories surrounding the case range from a serial killer targeting young girls to a connection to a drug ring or other criminal activity. However, none of these theories have been definitively proven.

Q6: Why is the case still unsolved?

A6: The lack of substantial evidence, a clear motive, and a connection between the victims has hindered the investigation.

Q7: How can I learn more about the case?

A7: You can find more information about the Alphabet Murders through online resources, news archives, and true crime documentaries. However, it’s important to remember that these sources may offer differing perspectives and interpretations of the events.


The Alphabet Murders remain a chilling reminder of the unresolved tragedies that can plague a community. While the case may be decades old, the memory of the victims and the mystery surrounding their deaths continue to resonate within the city of Rochester. The lack of closure leaves a lasting impact, reminding us that even in the modern era, some crimes may forever remain unsolved.