Greenwich Girl, 15, Bludgeoned to Death
By MICHAEL KNIGHT
Special to The New York Times
Printed: November 1, 1975
Greenwich, Conn., Oct. 31----The 15-year-old daughter of a Greenwich executive
was found bludgeoned to death this afternoon in a clump of bushes 200 feet from her home in the
exclusive Belle Haven estate section here.
The body of the girl, Martha Moxley, still clad in the blue ski parka and blue dungarees she wore when
she left home last night to visit friends, was found shortly after noon today by Sheila McGuire, a
15-year-old neighbor and classmate of the dead girl at Greenwich High School.
Thomas Keegan, detective captain of the Greenwich police, said Miss Moxley had apparently been
killed by a blow to the back of the head in an attack that took place not more than a few feet from the
The body of Miss Moxley, who was 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighed 120 pounds and had long, blond hair, was
then apparently dragged to a nearby clump of bushes, where it remained undiscovered for hours despite an
intensive search of the estate and surrounding neighborhood by policemen, who were alerted by the
victim's mother, Dorothy, at 3:45 A.M.
The family's home is in the virtual center of a well-guarded private community that occupies a
peninsula of stately homes jutting into Long Island Sound, south of the Connecticut Turnpike.
Access to the winding unlighted streets that loop through the quiet area is limited to two roads,
both of which are blocked by guard posts. A small private police force patrols the area regularly at
Miss Moxley's father, J. David Moxley, who is a partner in charge of the New York office of Touche
Ross & Co., an international accounting concern, was reportedly flying back to Greenwich from Atlanta
tonight. He had been on a business trip.
The police said that Miss Moxley was last seen at about 9:30 P.M. yesterday as she left the home of
Thomas Skakel, a classmate who is a nephew of Ethel Kennedy's.
The police said that Miss Moxley left her home on Walsh Avenue early yesterday evening to visit
friends in the company of Jackie Wetenhall, daughter of John H. Wetenhall, the president of the National
Dairy Corporation; Helen Ix, the daughter of Robert E. Ix, the president of Schweppe's, Inc., and Jeffrey
Burns, another classmate.
Miss Wetenhall said she and her friends had spent the night before Halloween visiting classmates
and "just going around Belle Haven." She said she left the group at 9 P.M. and walked home alone along
streets where rolls of toilet paper had been scattered as a Halloween prank.
Michael Skakel said he saw his brother Thomas talking to Miss Moxley outside the Skakel home on
Otter Rock Drive-a few hundred feet from the dead girl's home - at about 9:30 P.M. The other two
teen-agers had apparently gone home already at that time.
The police declined any comment on whether Miss Moxley had been sexually assaulted, pending an autopsy
Detectives continued to comb the estate tonight by floodlight for clues in the slaying, which shocked
this community of wealthy and often well-known parents since word of the murder began to spread this
afternoon as their children prepared to make Halloween excursions.
Worried classmates trying to learn the identity of the dead girl deluged the police with telephone
calls all afternoon, and anxious parents called both the police and radio station, asking for advice on
whether to allow their children out for Halloween.
"It's always been the kind of neighborhood where your kid can ask to walk the dog at 10 P.M., and
you always say, 'Yes, sure,'" said one resident, John Gentri, an announcer for a radio station here. "It's
always been safe. But there are ways to get in through the woods alongside the turnpike, from the Greenwich
Chief of Police Stephen N. Baran Jr. said that in his 30 years with the Greenwich Police Department
there had been only "one or two" homicides and "nothing of this nature at all."
The state police mobile crime laboratory was called to the scene and representatives of the county
prosecutor's office were on hand to supervise the collection of the evidence.
Both the McGuire girl, who found the body, and her mother, Elvira, refused to discuss the discovery
of the body or describe their neighbors, who are not well known in the community. The Moxleys had moved
here only a year ago.