Bristol Borough, PA -- Carol Ann Dougherty was raped and murdered in St. Mark's Church in Bristol Borough on Oct. 22, 1962. That much is known.
But who did it?

The answer has eluded police detectives who have examined and re-examined the case.

Nocito wants to end the mystery.

The 57-year-old barber has set up a computer web site dedicated to the case and, for six months, he's trolled the Internet for tips he hopes will lead to the person who raped and strangled the little girl.

"People have contacted me from all over the world - England, France, Germany," Nocito said.

One woman suggested he reinterview some of the original investigators. Others wished him well. But he hasn't received anything that would put him closer to finding the killer. Not yet.

Nocito said he was among some 400 people who stood in silence outside the church that damp October night when police removed Carol Ann's body.

At the time, he said, he was an apprentice gumshoe at his uncle's detective agency. He said he and his uncle began their own investigation of the murder in 1962, which he has continued off and on since.

Nocito still visits the church and lights candles in Carol Ann's memory.

"Seeing that little girl's body coming out of the church, it was enough to launch a lifetime search," he said, sitting in his quiet barber shop in Levittown.

He said he's chased leads and questioned suspects but reached the same conclusion as the police. "I can't say who did it," Nocito said.

Still, he has his theories.

Because of the setting of the murder, he sees demonic and ritualistic overtones. He also believes there was more than one killer.

But testing those theories has been tough. His requests to review the Dougherty murder file have been declined by police, who say the case remains open.

No one has completely ruled out Nocito's theories, as unlikely as they may seem.

Ever since the murder, investigators have sparred among themselves about how Carol Ann was killed, why she was in the church that day and who did it.

On the afternoon of the murder, Carol Ann left home on her bicycle, telling her mother she was going to the Bristol library to return some books. When she didn't return home by dark, her parents searched for her.

When they spotted her bike outside St. Mark's, they went inside. Her father found her small, broken body on a landing leading to the choir loft.

Suspicion immediately fell on three men: a parish priest who couldn't account for his whereabouts at the time of the murder; a paroled New Jersey car thief spotted near the church immediately after the crime; and a town drunk who had previous convictions for exposing himself to little girls.

Police recovered several brown pubic hairs from Carol's hand and presumed they were from her killer. But investigators never could link the evidence to any of the three suspects.

Four months later in Hazelton, Pa., another 9-year-old Catholic school girl, Marise Chivarella, was abducted as she walked to school. She was found raped, strangled and tossed into a strip mine.

The murder bore eerie similarities to the Dougherty case - including the discovery of brown pubic hairs on the girl's body. And, the night before that murder, nearly 1,000 people from Bristol Borough were in Hazelton to watch the borough high school basketball team lose a playoff game.

No connection between the cases has ever been proved.

Through the years, cop after cop has reviewed the murder file, hoping new leads would emerge. In 1992, the case was revived as the Courier Times prepared an investigative report on the murder.

Bristol Borough Detective Randy Morris took an interest and reviewed it as other cops had done. His examination led him to a new suspect, a man who had been questioned by police the day of the murder and had been questioned again over the years.

In the 1970s, the man was imprisoned in Louisiana for murdering his girlfriend. In 1993, he was brought to Bucks County to be questioned by a grand jury investigating the Dougherty case.

The man, whose name has never been disclosed by police, pleaded his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself by answering questions. That refusal has led some investigators in the county District Attorney's office to believe that he murdered Carol.

DNA tests were inconclusive.

Nocito theorizes that Carol Ann was lured into the church by someone she knew.

"This was pre-planned by the murderer. Carol Ann had an appointment with death," he said.

During the initial investigation, the theory that the crime was premeditated was dismissed after authorities learned that St. Mark's students were encouraged by their teachers to stop into the church to say a prayer if they happened to be in the area and had the time.

Carol Ann was known to do this.

Nocito also believes that more than one person was involved, because there was no evidence showing that Carol Ann had fought with her killer as she was being raped and strangled.

"If you're being strangled, you're going to use both hands to get the weapon (or hands) from your throat," he said. "One person held her down while the other strangled her."

He also believes that the killer, burdened by the awfulness of the act, has probably sought to relieve that guilt by confessing the crime. Nocito hopes anyone who listened to that confession will contact him.

"Somebody knows who killed Carol," he said.

"Somebody knows."

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