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The devil at Genesee Junction - Michael Benson

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The devil at Genesee Junction - the murders of Kathy Bernhard and George-Ann Formicola, 6/66
Michael Benson
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
UK Publication Date

Today you'd call Ballantyne suburban, but back then, at the start of the summer of 1966, it was country - just a cluster of houses, some of them shacks, on or near Ballantyne Road, in the Town of Chili, NY. And while June 25 started like any other day it would end in a nightmare. In The Devil at Genesee Junction, veteran crime writer, Michael Benson, returns to his formerly rural hometown to take on the double homicide of his friends Kathy Bernhard and George-Ann Formiciola that took place that night. The two girls were missing for a month and then found in the bushes horribly mutilated. The double homicide changed the author's childhood suddenly, and drastically. He went from living in a rural playland, to being encased in fear, wondering who among them was the werewolf who cut up Kathy and George-Ann. This heinous crime was never resolved, and didn't go away. In recent years, the author has teamed up with a victim's mom, and a local private investigator to delve deep into the 6/66 murders, developing along the way some strong new leads and shocking details. Together
they have heated up this icy cold case, and their investigation has led them in a startling new direction.

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Michael Benson is originally from the town of Chili, New York and attended Wheatland-Chili High School. He has a journalism degree from Hofstra University, and is the author of many true-crime books, including Murder in Connecticut, The Burn Farm, and Killer Twins. He has appeared on the CBS Morning News, On the Case with Paula Zahn program, and is a regular on the Investigation Discovery channel's Evil Twins and Evil Kin series.

Since childhood, veteran true crime author Benson (Killer Twins) has been obsessed with the unsolved 1966 murders of two teenage girls in his hometown of Chili, N.Y., a tight-knit community forever marred by that brutal violence. This gripping reexamination of the double homicide blends memoir with detective work and provides a convincing answer to a mystery almost a half-century old. Benson, who was nine at the time of the killings, knew both victims, and he is especially effective at conjuring up the atmosphere of terror that gripped the area afterwards, transforming the small town into a place where children were kept on a very tight leash out of fear that the murderer would strike again. Along the way to his proposed solution, Benson recounts other horrific crimes obscured by time but possibly related to the Bernhard- Formicola killings, including the Rochester 'Double Initials' murders of the 1970s, in which each victim had matching initials and was dumped in a town beginning with that same letter of the alphabet. Despite the inclusion of some superfluous personal details, the author succeeds in crafting a real-life page-turner.
Publishers Weekly

The Devil at Genesee Junction is a gripping and poignant mix of true crime and childhood memoir.
Democrat & Chronicle

Once again Mike Benson has documented a true crime event --
this time in his small, boyhood neighborhood in upstate New York during the late 1960s.
He has created labyrinth of detail about the loss of innocents near a Tom Sawyer-like swimming hole where the death and sexual mutilation of two of his adolescent friends caused a frenzy and panic in the community.
A crime that has never resulted in justice for the person or persons who committed the crime nor closure for the victim's families.
Nearly fifty years later he describes the murders, the multitude of suspects developed and a community surrounded by pedophilia, rape and serial killers
a story of sexual predators that makes us all fear for our children.
Patrick A. Patterson, Federal Bureau of Investigation [retired]

True crime author Michael Benson has written a deeply thoughtful and intriguing work of the horrific and unsolved murders of two young women from upstate New York that occurred some forty-nine years ago.
A youngster at the time of the murders, the victims were neighbors of the author and their deaths deeply impacted his and the lives of the entire community. Written over an extended period of time, beginning in his youth, then in the 1980s and 1990s, and, finally, from 2011 to 2015, the author, in effect, reopens the case taking his readers on a protracted investigation into the crimes that includes consideration of
"likely suspects"
who got away with the murders. Along the route, readers are introduced to the people, places, and
events that were the setting for the murders. The book is made even more interesting for the reader by the author's consideration of possible connections between the murders and those of others that occurred in various places in the United States around the same time. A really good read for all true crime buffs!
Kathleen P. Munley, Ph.D., Professor of History, Marywood University (retired)

In 2011, I joined Michael Benson's investigation into the June 1966 murders of George-Ann Formicola and Kathy Bernhard. As I had gone to school with the girl's siblings, graduated from their school on the night of their disappearance, and had worked the area as a police officer and investigator, I felt an emotional connection to the case. Since 1966 I have wanted those responsible brought to justice. Expertly written by my friend and veteran true-crime writer, Michael Benson, Devil at Genesee Junction tells Benson's personal story, his close involvement with the tragedy, from the time he was nine-years-old to the present, almost 50 years later. It is a must read as both a memoir and an investigatory procedural, for true-crime fans everywhere.
Donald A. Tubman, former New York State Medicological Investigator and Private Investigator

Veteran crime writer Michael Benson embarks on a deeply personal and thought-provoking investigative journey into the murders of two young female neighbors nearly a half-century ago. Along with one of the victim's mothers and a private investigator, they leave no stone unturned in identifying suspects and linking them to other grisly killings throughout the United States. It's a page-turner.
Robert Mladinich, author of From the Mouth of the Monster: The Joel Rifkin Story; co-author of Lethal Embrace and Hooked Up For Murder

Keyword Index
Murder - New York (State)|Cold cases (Criminal investigation) - New York (State)
Country of Publication
Number of Pages
xviii, 367

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