A convict was charged Wednesday with the murder of a student found strangled more than 35 years ago, officials said.
The body of 20-year-old Claire Gravel was discovered in the woods on June 30, 1986 in Beverly, Massachusetts.
In the intervening years, authorities have interviewed dozens of witnesses and interested parties in the cold case, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.
A grand jury indicted 63-year-old John Carey for her death Wednesday morning, Blodgett said. Carey is currently serving a 20-year sentence in a Concord prison after being convicted in 2008 of attempted murder of another woman in Massachusetts.
“For 36 years, Claire Gravel’s family and friends have had nothing but questions about her death,” Blodgett said. “Today we were able to give them some of the answers.”
Evidence extracted from Gravel’s clothing “played an important role in solving this case,” Blodgett said, noting that investigators are constantly reviewing cold cases “in the hope that new techniques and a fresh look would lead to a breakthrough.” lead”.
Carey, who was a stakeholder in the case, will be charged with first-degree murder at a later date, Blodgett said. It is not clear whether the suspect has a lawyer.
Blodgett said prosecutors have not yet speculated on a motive for Gravel’s murder, but said “we have confidence” based on the evidence presented to the grand jury “that we have the right person.”
Gravel, a Salem State college student of North Andover, was last seen alive the day before her body was found. After a night at a local bar with members of her softball team, a friend dropped off Gravel at her apartment about 1:30 AM on June 29. Three workers found her body in the woods of Route 128 in Beverly on the afternoon of June 30. The coroner determined she had been strangled.
Blodgett said he has been in contact with Gravel’s family, who expressed “relief” that a suspect has been identified in her murder.
“I want to thank everyone for their tireless and relentless pursuit of justice for Claire,” he said.
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