Teacher Rita Curran raped, beaten, strangled 51 years ago
Longtime news reporter Mike Donoghue broke one of the biggest crime stories in Vermont history on Thursday when he reported that the rape, beating and strangulation death of a Milton teacher more than 51 years ago in Burlington has been solved.
Donoghue, in a copyrighted news story, was the first to report new DNA results are being used to close out the killing of Rita Curran, 24, at her apartment at 17 Brookes Avenue on the night of July 19, 1971.
The name of the killer, who is dead, is being withheld pending a Burlington Police news conference on Tuesday morning.
Donoghue, who reported the Curran family was notified on Wednesday, was on The Morning Drive Show on WVMT-AM & FM radio this morning, to discuss a story he has waited 51 years to write. Below is an excerpt – the entire story can be read in the Bennington Banner.
By Mike Donoghue, Vermont News First
BURLINGTON — Burlington Police are expected to publicly announce within the coming days that one of the highest profiled unsolved homicides in Vermont history is being closed out: The killer of Milton teacher Rita Curran is dead.
Curran, 24, had been sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled at her apartment at 17 Brookes Ave. on the night of July 19, 1971, police said. Curran, a graduate of Trinity College, was a second grade teacher in her hometown of Milton when somebody entered her unlocked apartment and killed her. Curran’s body was found during the early morning hours the next day, when her roommates returned from a popular restaurant on Route 7 in Shelburne.
The case sent shockwaves into the city and state. It has remained unsolved for more than 51 years, despite the efforts of dozens of local and state police investigators chasing countless leads in Vermont and many other states. Four early suspects were developed, but two were dead within a year of the crime, including one from a drug overdose.
DNA evidence, which has made great advances in recent years, was behind closing the case, Vermont News First has been told. Read more here.
Great journalism by Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Page. Sad that the perpetrator of this crime will not be punished on this side of life. Good that the family will finally have closure.