Convicted sex offender charged with murder in 1966 beating death of 10-year-old Massachusetts girl

A 73 year old convicted sex offender has been charged in the 1966 disappearance and death of a 10-year-old Massachusetts girl, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Donald Marsh was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Betty Lou Zukowski, who left her Chicopee home on the evening of May 26, 1966, and was found beaten to death several days later in the Westfield River in West Springfield. , prosecutors said in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield.

He pleaded not guilty on behalf of Aris.

His attorney did not object to his client being held without bail, but reserved the right to seek bail at a later date. An email seeking comment was left with the defense.

Convicted sex offender charged with murder in 1966 beating death of 10-year-old Massachusetts girl
At left, an undated photo of 10-year-old Betty Lou Zukowski, who went missing in Massachusetts on May 26, 1966 and was found beaten to death several days later. At right, a photo of suspect Donald Mars, a convicted sex offender charged with her murder in November 2022.

Hampden District Attorney’s Office


“While this research will not bring Betty Lou back to her family, nor give her the chance to become the healthy adult she and every child deserves, it is for them and for Betty Lou that we begin this journey seeking justice. ” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Guluni said at a news conference after the trial.

Betty Lou’s parents, Stanley and Mildred, have since died, but authorities have been in contact with her surviving family members, he said.

The victim left her family’s home in Chicopee after receiving a phone call from what she told her parents was a friend, Gulluni said. Her parents reported her missing later that evening.

The “battered and mud-covered body 75 inches long and weighing 75 pounds was found in open water by boys fishing in the Westfield River in the town of West Springfield,” he said.

“The cause of death was determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to be multiple blunt force trauma to her head, a fractured skull and eventual drowning,” he said.

Because she left her home voluntarily, investigators believe she knew her attacker.

Her funeral was on June 2, 1966, which would have been her 11th birthday, he said.

Mars, who would have been a teenager at the time of Betty Lou’s death, had been linked to the murder as early as 1997 but was not arrested, Gulluni said. Gulluni’s cold case unit has refocused on the case in recent months, he said, though he did not reveal what evidence led to Aris.

According to the state sex offender registry, Mars was convicted of rape and assault and battery on a child under 14 in 1995. He is listed as a Level 3 sex offender, considered the most likely to reoffend. His most recent speech was in Bedford.

He watched the trial via video, and although he said nothing, he shook his head several times as the prosecution read a list of previous criminal cases in which he had been involved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *