Nightly News   |  July 11, 2013

DNA evidence links DeSalvo to Boston Strangler murders

Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to all 11 killings, eventually recanted before dying in 1973. But now Massachusetts officials say they have finally linked DeSalvo to one of the victims, a 19-year-old named Mary Sullivan. NBC’s Katy Tur reports.

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>>> at long last, a big break tonight in the murder case that received national attention as it gripped the city of boston half a century ago. he was known as the boston strangler and tonight it appears science may have finally caught up with him. we get the story tonight from nbc's katy tur.

>> reporter: 50 years ago, boston was held hostage.

>> evidence so far is skimpy.

>> reporter: 11 women, most sexually assaulted, found dead in their homes.

>> there is fear in boston .

>> never really an end to the story. always lingering in the air for several years. who was it? still out there?

>> reporter: albert de salvo confessed, but doubts surrounded his claims. he tdied in prison in 1973 .

>> a genuine murder mystery and the reopening of the boston strangler .

>> reporter: they hoped dna would prove de salvo did it. it did not. today, new advanced testing will prove he was sullivan 's killer.

>> these results are unprecedented in the history of this case. for the first time ever, law enforcement has a piece of evidence to test against a suspect.

>> reporter: the suffolk d.a. said they could take dna evidence from 50 years ago, collected right here at mary sullivan 's apartment and cross reference it with dna with a member of sullivan 's family, and that's how they found a match. police are 99.9% positive, but will exhume de salvo's body to be sure. this is the lawyer that represents de salvo's family.

>> just because you find dna on a person's body, doesn't mean that they murdered that person.

>> my aunt, a 19-year-old girl, heinously murdered in 1964 . people