The Murder of Michelle Maenza


By Elise Haley aka Crime Shark

It was November 26, 1973 when 11 year old Michelle Maenza disappeared while walking home. She had been at the Goodman Plaza.  While at the plaza, Michelle saw her uncle who had offered to give her a ride home but she declined. It would haunt her uncle for years that he didn’t drive her home that day.

Two days later, on November 28th, Michelle’s body was found in Macedon. As with the previous alphabet killings, she was strangled and sexually assaulted.  Little effort was made to conceal Michelle’s body. Police believe she was there for 36 hours before it was finally reported.

Calls and tips began to pour in after Michelle’s murder.  A woman said she saw a girl resembling Michelle in a car at a fast food restaurant in Penfield, NY and a man was walking towards the car with a bag of food.  Michelle’s autopsy results would reveal that based on the contents of her stomach, she had eaten a hamburger.

Another man witnessed someone with a flat tire on Route 350 in Walworth.  In the car was a girl resembling Michelle. Each witness was asked for a description of the man they saw and they provided similar descriptions and a composite sketch was developed.

Some believe that all the girl’s initials together, CWM could be an acronym for “Come With Me,” which may be what the killer said to the girls before abducting them.

A firefighter who was caught in January of 1974, raping a teenage girl in a garage, was thought to possibly be the killer.  He killed himself as police closed in on him. Coincidentally the double initial killings stopped after his death. However, the man’s body was exhumed in 2007 and they found that he did not match the DNA found at one of the crime scenes, and he was officially cleared as a suspect.

The murders of Carmen Colon, Wanda Walkowicz and Michelle Maenza remain unsolved.  If you or anyone you know has any information about the murder of Michelle Maenza, please contact the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at (315) 946-5781 or email: tip@co.wayne.ny.us

Resources:

Democrat & Chronicle

Democrat & Chronicle

The New York Times

Dark Minds

WHEC

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