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Theresa Rodger

A 17-year-old is strangled on a rooftop just six blocks from where she lived in Brooklyn, New York.

  • Last updated: May 31, 2023
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • October 20, 1971

Overview of Theresa Rodger

Theresa Rose Rodger left the house at 10:00am on Wednesday, October 20, 1971 with four dollars in her pocket. Her mother, Rosalie Rodger, said she planned to buy a blouse and then head over to the Bay Ridge area to look for a job as a part-time waitress.

A little more than 24 hours later, an elevator repairman found her body was found on the rooftop of 198 Bond Street in the Gowanus Housing Authority project. This rooftop was just 0.5 miles from Theresa's home - a short eleven minute walk.

Brooklyn South homicide detectives said there appeared to be a major struggle on the rooftop. Theresa's hands were tied with a strip of her brown blouse, her knees were bound with her corduroy slacks, her ankles were secured with her shoe laces, and she had been gagged with her bra.

At first, police believed her throat had been cut with a knife, but later the Medical Examiner determined that her cause of death was strangulation with a wire that cut her jugular vein. Her death certificate indicates that she died at approximately 1:45pm. It also reveals that she had been stabbed multiple times in the chest and abdomen. There was no evidence of sexual assault.

Police speculated that her attackers were a group of girls who wanted to rob her. They believed Theresa fought for her life, but was overpowered by multiple assailants.


  1. Date of Death:October 20, 1971
  2. Birthday:February 5, 1954
  3. Age at Incident:17
  4. Race:Caucasian / White
  5. Gender:Female

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