Kathleen Marie Flynn headed home after school like any other day on September 23, 1986. Her walk wasn’t far, just about a half-mile on a paved path through the woods to her home in Norwalk, Connecticut. That fall day started off like any other.
But that afternoon, Kathleen never returned home.
Search teams discovered the young girl’s body the next morning off the beaten path through the trees. Kathleen had been sexually assaulted and strangled. She had only turned 11 just weeks before.
According to then Norwalk Police Chief Carl LiBianca, who spoke with told the New York Times in the weeks following the murder, the killing was “the most sadistic” in the towns’ then history.
What may have shocked residents the most is the close proximity of dozens of others; students, parents, neighbors, teachers. The path Kathleen walked home was just a few hundred feet from the middle school’s athletic fields where sports teams had been practicing that very afternoon. No one reportedly saw anything suspicious.
The case was covered extensively and hundreds of tips poured in in the weeks following and the FBI was called in, but none of it led to an arrest. A young boy reportedly told police he saw a group of men confronting Kathleen in the woods that afternoon, but months later he admitted to making the story up.
In 2000, police announced they had a suspect but little other information was released. Hairs found at the crime scene were reportedly sent out for mitochondrial testing against said suspect. It’s unclear what the results of that testing were.
Kathleen would have been 40 this September. Officials say they are still investigating and following as many leads as they are given, but not much more information can be released as it may jeopardize the ongoing case.
If you have any information that can help solve Kathleen Marie Flynn’s murder, please contact the Norwalk Police Department at (203) 854-3000.