The death of Effie MacDonald, 54, on March 18. 1965 at the prestigious Bangor House hotel in downtown sent shock waves through the city.
The mystery behind her brutal death has never faded, even as the years have passed into history.
“It was pretty upsetting to have a murder of that type, because she was brutalized,” Robert Southard, a Brewer resident who recalled the 1965 murder on Tuesday.
Effie MacDonald went to work early and her body was discovered by a fellow chambermaid in an empty third-floor guest room at about 2 p.m. She had been beaten and sexually assaulted and she was strangled to death with her nylon stockings.
“He was a sadistic person, whoever did this,” Southard said.
Early speculation was that her death was tied to the unsolved sex murders of the infamous Boston Strangler, but differences in how the nylons were tied convinced detectives that the cases were not connected.
Effie was a Houlton native who moved to Bangor with her family. After a divorce, she moved into an apartment on Boynton Street, a short walk from her job at the Bangor House, a palace hotel that opened on the corner of Main and Union streets in 1834, the same year the city was founded.
Bangor police Detective Capt. Clifton E. Sloane, who died in 1976, was the lead investigator on the case and told the Bangor Daily News in a March 1971 interview that he knew who the killer was, but didn’t have the evidence to connect the suspect to the savage crime.
That suspect also is now deceased.
“There was a lot of rumors going around as to who they thought did this,” Southard said. “They didn't have enough information that they could convict anybody.”
Bangor police say a detective is still assigned to the cold case, and they will follow any leads that arise.