NOTE: Transcript follows
LINKS PLAYED DOWN IN TEEN SLAYINGS By Gene Warner
Despite the fact that Buffalo and Town of Tonawanda detectives have interviewed some of the same youths in the slayings of Michelle Kasperek and Katherine Herold, police believe that they’re probably looking for (ILLEGIBLE) the two celebrated cases.
Miss Kasperek, 13, of Black Rock and Miss Herold, 15, of Kenmore were found murdered several miles apart, in similarly grisly circumstances. The Buffalo girl’s throat was slashed when she was killed in May 1984; the Kenmore girl was strangled, with her body found between the rails of railroad tracks July 1.
There also are indications that the two victims knew some of the same teen-age youths, police say.
Because of those similarities, detectives from the two police agencies have covered some common ground in their separate probes and have investigated the possibility of the same killer or killers in the two cases. There also have been rumors on the street that the killings may be linked.
“I can’t rule it out,” Town of Tonawanda Chief of Detectives Robert McDonough said, last week. “We certainly have looked in that direction.”
However, as skilled homicide investigators with decades of experience in murder cases, both McDonough and Buffalo Homicide Chief Leo J. Donovan believe that the methods were different enough to point to separate killers.
“There doesn’t seem to be any similarity between ours (ILLEGIBLE) said of the methods.
Repeat killers tend to follow a similar pattern when they strike again, investigators say. The killer or killers of the Herold girl may not have known whether she was dead when they left her, McDonough said.
“If he was the same individual, he probably would have cut her throat,” McDonough said.
The two police agencies have shared information in the cases. “Some of the same names have come up in both investigations, but that’s not uncommon and that doesn’t mean (the girls) knew each other,” Donovan said.
The two girls’ groups of teen-age friends apparently overlapped slightly, police say. And McDonough indicated that several individuals who attended a marijuana-alcohol party at the Kasperek home before she was killed also knew Miss Herold.
Both cases have become top-priority investigations, and both key investigators remain tight-lipped about certain aspects of their cases. “I’d rather not comment on the number of suspects we are concentrating on,” Donovan said of the Kasperek probe, which has gone to an Erie County grand jury.
McDonough remained mum about the num-(ILLEGIBLE) killing Miss Herold. He did indicate, though, that he believes she was attacked in the area where her body was found, on railroad tracks off the 1100 block of Military Road.
The Tonawanda detective chief still is awaiting laboratory analyses of some of the physical evidence recovered in that case.
Apart from the two killings, police are troubled by the beer-marijuana parties that attracted friends of both victims, near the railroad tracks off Hertel Avenue or on the tracks near the Town of Tonawanda-Kenmore border.
“The tracks have become a haven for kids, especially for those using alcohol and drugs,” said Detective Donald Mix of the Buffalo Police Community Services.
That’s a problem that continues to haunt police in both agencies, a problem that won’t be solved even with the arrests of two or more murder suspects.
Buffalo News, August 4, 1985