Investigators in this exclusive New York suburb today established a clear link between two double murders that sent shock waves through the affluent community.
Police officials said jewelry and valuables taken from both mansions where the bodies were found Thursday were discovered in a 1973 sports car used by the killers to escape.
One of the victims was Charles Frankel, an undersecretary of state for education and cultural affairs in 1965-67.
The car and its contents, abandoned on a Brooklyn street, provided the first tangible link between the two crimes.
"We have determined that the valuables found in the car were taken from the two houses," a spokesman for the Sixth Avenue police stationhouse in Brooklyn said today.
Earlier Westchester County District Attorney Thomas Facelle termed the slayings "the most bizarre murders I've worked on in more than two years."
The bodies of Frankel, 61, and his wife, Helen, were found Thursday afternoon in the bedroom of their home, one block from the Corydon Sperry estate, where earlier in the day, Christopher R. Sperry, 21, and 82-year-old Nettie MacCormack, his governess, were found dead, bound and gagged in separate upstairs bedrooms, police said.
Sperry and MacCormack, who had been with the Sperry family for two generations, were found by a maid who ran screaming into a neighbor's home.
All the victims had been shot in the head, police said, and one detective described the two sets of slayings as "an exact replay."
Officers checked for other possible victims at 70 homes in the vicinity Thursday, and said they would continue looking today in an effort to cover all homes in the 40-square-mile village.
About 2 1/2 hours after the first bodies were discovered at the Sperry house, the sports car registered to the family was found abandoned in Brooklyn.
The elder Sperry is with the Wall Street brokerage firm of Stillman, Maynard and Co. He and his wife had spent the night in their Manhattan apartment. Three younger children also were not home at the time of the slayings.
Frankel had been Old Dominion professor of philosophy and public affairs since 1970 at Columbia University. He also was president of the National Humanities Center in Raleigh, N.C.
Frankel and his wife, the former Helen Beatrice Lehman, 61, were discovered after their son, Carl, reported to police that he was unable to reach them by telephone.