1971 Murder Victim, Cornelia Crilley

“Behold, I send you forth as sheep amidst the wolves.” – Matthew 10:16

I am a seasoned true crime fan and writer, but I just find these victims stories to be so especially sad, and in stewardess Cornelia “Michael” Crilley’s case, the way she was charmed by this monster into helping move furniture into her new apartment, if that is what happened, is just awful. Cops and friends suspect this is how Alcala got inside and killed her. He certainly had the charm and good looks. Besides, it was a secure apartment building. He didn’t just walk in there. One thing is certain, IT WAS HIM.

A bird’s eye view of society back then reveals more. In those days, women were just getting out and becoming more independent, and some females were maybe too trusting and too naive. My mother was Cornelia’s age at the time and she agrees. Many detectives who worked this and similar cases of the era also agree, and have stated so on record. Charm and good looks was all it took for Alcala. A woman in the 1960s thought a creep was some ugly jerk in a trench coat out in the alley, and the term “serial killer” had not yet been invented. This new found independence movement full of trusting young women, living on their own, would meet head on for decades with a harsh and brutal new aspect of American society. The serial killer. Tragically, Miss Crilley was one of the first victims of what we now refer to as a serial killer.

Being a fun-loving child of the 60′s from a good Irish family, Miss Crilley would never have imagined the horror at her doorstep or that something like this could ever happen to her. At the time, Alcala was charming and good looking, with the intelligence and wit to gain people’s trust. Nobody suspected him, not even his college professors. That may have been all it took, for it is not known if he pulled a weapon on her to gain entry, smooth talked his way in, or was already waiting inside. Remember, it was a busy moving day. This monster had time to figure his evil plan. He was also bad with rejection, so who knows if they had ever met before, say at the store or at a bar. Nobody knows.


RIP Miss Crilley.
There is not much about you on the web, and you deserve to be remembered, so that other women survive this type of thing.

Please make a small donation to LaGuardia Community College, as a tribute in her honor:

BTW, the book on the Game Show Killer by Stella Sands is very good, with a decent sized chapter on Miss Crilley and her background…because not much is known about her and I was very curious. Hers was the coldest case, and that made me sad. I’m glad it is now solved. Pick the book up, or read parts of it at Google Books… it’s well worth your time!

Miss Crilley’s Find A Grave Memorial: