Wanda Walkowicz was found dead in Webster. Michelle Maenza's body was dumped in Macedon. And Carmen Colon's was discovered near Churchville.
More than 22 years later, acting on a tip from a prison informant, investigators are revisiting the "double-initial murders."
All three girls--Wanda and Michelle were 11, Carmen was 10--had first and last names with the same initial and were abducted not far from their homes while running late-afternoon errands to the store for their mothers.
They were raped and strangled and their bodies dumped in plain view in or near Rochester-area villages that bore the same first initial as their names.
A convicted murderer at a maximum-security prison now claims to know who killed them, and the suspect is believed to be still living in this region on Lake Ontario's southern shore, Sheriff Richard Pisciotti said.
The informant passed on "interesting things" about one of the crime scenes that "we consider worthy of further investigation," Pisciotti said.
Carmen was killed in 1971, Wanda and Michelle in 1973. Police questioned more than 800 suspects, but no one was ever arrested.
All three girls came from poor, one-parent Catholic families in the city, and all had problems in school. White cat hairs were found on their clothing, suggesting the killer might have lured them away with a kitten.
Because the girls shared odd similarities, police theorized that the killer worked for a social service agency or a school and had access to family records.
The sheriff said he is turning over hair and fiber samples from Michelle's body to the FBI crime laboratory in Washington.