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Man Captured In Slaying Of Girl 37 Years Ago

January 26, 1988

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ A Nebraska man arrived here today to face murder charges after incriminating himself in the strangling of an 8-year-old girl whose body was found at a Pennsylvania carnival 37 years ago.

William Henry Redmond, 66, left Nebraska by train on Monday with a Pennsylvania state trooper who said he located Redmond shortly after the investigation was re-opened in 1985.

Redmond stepped off the Amtrak train at 1:20 p.m. into a swirling snowstorm. He held a yellow towel in front of his face and refused to say anything to reporters and others who had waited for him at the suburban Philadelphia station at Paoli. He was taken to a nearby state police barracks for processing.

Redmond, who operated a Ferris wheel at the carnival, ″has made a statement to police inculpating himself″ in the April 1951 slaying of Jane Marie Althoff, Delaware County District Attorney William Ryan said Monday.

An arrest warrant in the case was issued for Redmond in January 1952 but apparently was never served because he left the carnival and could not be located, police said.

Redmond, who has been arrested twice on child molestation charges, was arrested Friday in Grand Island, Neb.

Redmond was a Ferris wheel operator with the Penn-Premier Show carnival that had stopped in the nearby town of Trainer in late April 1951. Jane Marie was found dead on the front seat of a truck at the carnival grounds on April 26, 1951, Ryan said. She had been strangled the previous night, he said.

The truck cab was covered with fingerprints matching those of Redmond, police said.

Redmond, bent by age and slowed by emphysema, sat quietly during a Monday evening stopover in Chicago. The state trooper, Malcolm Murphy, would not let Redmond speak to a reporter.

Murphy said he had been working on the case since October 1985 after police in Trainer told him about the girl’s death.

Murphy said after reading the file he came to believe that Redmond was responsible for the girl’s slaying.

″Because I knew his name and his date of birth I was able to run his name through the computer, and his name turned up in the Nebraska motor vehicle files,″ he said.

Murphy said he talked to Redmond on Friday and arrested him on the basis of that conversation. He would not characterize Redmond’s statement as a confession.

Redmond will be charged with criminal homicide, murder, involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping, simple assault, unlawful restraint and endangering the welfare of children, Murphy said.

Redmond, an unemployed truck driver, had lived in Grand Island since 1963, said Lt. Gregg Ahlers of the Hall County (Neb.) Sheriff’s Department.

″So far as we know he has been leading a quiet life,″ Murphy said. ″We are continuing our investigation because there are too many blank spaces in his life that we don’t know about ....

″He was pretty resigned at the time of his arrest,″ Murphy said.

According to news accounts from 1951, Jane Marie had gone to the carnival with her 6-year-old brother, Paul. A 16-year-old brother accompanied the two but was not allowed inside because he had a bicycle. Jane Marie was seen whispering to Redmond and told a friend she had a secret with him, according to reports from 1951.

Police in Nebraska said they are investigating whether Redmond was involved in the Aug. 13, 1987, disappearance of 9-year-old Jill Cutshall of Norfolk, Neb.

Redmond was arrested twice in the mid-1930s for attacking pre-teen girls and was sentenced to the Ohio State Reformatory and the Ohio State Mental Hospital, according to an affidavit filed by Murphy in Nebraska.

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