The Murder of Thomas Clifton

By Elise Haley AKA Crime Shark

It was June 15, 1978.  Thomas Clifton was sunbathing, nude, on a remote beach in Angola, NY.  Angola is about a half hour just outside of Buffalo where Clifton was a professor of music at the University at Buffalo.

In what was described by former Town of Evan police Chief, Samuel DeJohn, in a Buffalo News article, as “a very violent attack,” Clifton was murdered.  There were many wounds to his upper body, on both his chest and back.  Clifton also suffered defensive wounds, which means there was a significant struggle.  Clifton was stabbed 30 times.

Clifton was found facedown in Lake Erie by two women who had been out for a walk.  Earlier that morning someone had heard the voice of a man, in distress, and witnessed a woman walking away and getting into a grey station wagon before driving off. Missing from the scene of the crime was Clifton’s bicycle, which he had ridden to the beach that day, and also the clothes he had worn to the beach.  

Police believe that this was a premeditated murder, likely committed by someone who knew Thomas Clifton personally.  To this day, no arrest have ever been made. Police are still seeking answers to this horrific homicide. If you or anyone you know has any information about the murder of Thomas Clifton, please call the Evans Police information hotline at 716-217-2535.


The Buffalo News

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