In a period of seven months, between November 1976 and June 1977, five young women were raped and murdered within a 25-mile radius of Washington, Pennsylvania, their killer striking with impunity and leaving homicide investigators at a loss for clues. Despite a fair description of the suspect, published in the form of artist's sketches, there were no arrests, and none are now anticipated in a case that terrorized the peaceful border region, holding women prisoners of fear inside their homes. The first to die was 21-year-old Susan Rush, a native of Washington County, found strangled and locked in the trunk of her car on November 25, 1976. Detectives noted that her body had been "hastily clothed," her bra and panties left on the front seat, and a post mortem examination confirmed that the victim was raped prior to death. On February 13, 1977, 16-year-old Mary Gency was reported missing from her home in North Charleroi. She had gone out for a walk after supper and never returned, her body recovered three days later from the woods at Fallowfield Township. Gency was beaten to death with a blunt instrument, raped before death by an assailant the county coroner described as "a mad animal." Debra Capiola, 17, was last seen alive on March 17, walking to meet her school bus in nearby Imperial, in Allegheny County. She never arrived at school, and searchers found her body in a wooded section of northwestern Washington County on March 22. Capiola had been raped before she was strangled with her own blue jeans, the pants left wrapped around her neck. Two months later, on the afternoon of May 19, 18-year-old Brenda Ritter was found dead at South Strabane Township, in Washington County. Nude except for shoes and stockings, she had been raped, then strangled with a piece of her own clothing, tightened around her throat with a stick. In June, the killer strayed from Pennsylvania, but he did not travel far. His final victim was Roberta Elam, 26, a novice at Mount St. Joseph Mother House, in Oglebay Park, West Virginia, near Wheeling. Preparing to take her vows as a nun, Elam's career was cut short by the savage who raped and strangled her on June 13, dumping her corpse within 75 yards of the convent. On the afternoon of June 15, authorities released a sketch of a longhaired suspect seen near the Ritter homicide scene, but none of the resultant tips proved fruitful. When the murder series ended, as mysteriously as it had begun, police could only speculate about the strangler's identity and whereabouts. Unless deceased or jailed on unrelated charges, he is still at large today.