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Eleven-Year-Old Girl Raped and Strangled

September 25, 1986

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) _ Authorities interviewed schoolchildren and called in the FBI Thursday as they searched for a killer who sexually assaulted and strangled an 11-year-old girl as she walked a half-mile from school to her home.

Investigators have ″developed some valuable leads″ in the death of Kathleen Marie Flynn, said police Chief Carl LaBianca.

The sixth-grader’s body was discovered early Wednesday after a nine-hour search that started when she failed to return home from Ponus Ridge Middle School on Tuesday.

″We are doing our own investigation. We are only asking the FBI to assist us with whatever expertise they may have for this horrendous crime we want to solve,″ LaBianca said.

Among the clues police are investigating is a report filed at the outset of the school year about a man who tried to lure a 9-year-old girl into a red sports car, he said.

Initial evidence suggests that ″the person or persons responsible have been in the area on previous occasions,″ LaBianca said.

The girl, who had attended her new school for only 18 days, did not usually go through the woods on her way home, but there was no evidence that the body was taken there after the attack, police said.

The neighborhood, including the dead-end street where the Flynn’s live, is made up of single-family residences with an average cost of about $200,000 each, officials said.

″Something like this isn’t supposed to happen around here,″ Ilona Drew, a neighborhood resident and mother of an eighth-grade student at the school.

″It’s frightening. I didn’t have this fear seven years ago when my son went to Ponus, but I do now, and not just because I have a daughter there. There’s a difference today.″

Despite such worries, principal LeRoy Vaughn reported attendance at Ponus Ridge on Thursday was ″outstanding.″

Vaughn said scores of children were questioned briefly by police detectives on Wednesday, and 15 were asked to come to police headquarters for more in- depth interviews.

″In each case, the parents were given the right to refuse questioning,″ he said. ″But all the parents allowed their children to be interrogated by the Youth Bureau. I was very impressed by their manner in handling the kids during the school interviews.″