The Unsolved Murder Of Judith Vieweg: The Birth Of A Serial Killer Or Pure Coincidence?
Updated: Mar 19
The Mass Hysteria Podcast is currently writing a series on the Judith Vieweg case and other seemingly related cases to clear up the lack of information and possible misinformation surrounding it. If you have a personal connection to the events which transpired, please contact them through firstname.lastname@example.org.
It goes without saying that it takes a remarkable kind of person to become a teacher, especially one to young children. From the sweet portrait of Miss Honey in Matilda to the limitless curiosity of Miss Frizzle in The Magic School Bus, pop culture depictions of elementary school educators reflect the qualities of real-life teachers: exhibiting a selflessness and innate sense of patience that fosters learning in young minds.
Judith Vieweg was no exception. Miss Vieweg worked as an art teacher at Spaulding Memorial Elementary School, in a rural New England community known as Townsend, Massachusetts. The countless students she taught, over the course of her seven years teaching, adored her. At thirty-one years old, Judith was a locally recognized artist herself and poured her energy into celebrating the imaginations of fourth graders. She had her own home in town and a job she was passionate about returning to each day. Her life was merely beginning.
On September 9th, 1973, Judith’s dog barked incessantly outside her home. When the neighbors noticed the door to her house was wide open, they called Judith’s brother to come check on his sister. Judith would often take walks in the woods near her house, as there were numerous known footpaths. Leroy Schofield, one of her neighbors, decided to search for Judith along one of the trails.
As he followed a path behind her house, he noticed what appeared to be a blanket-wrapped body covered in tree debris and heavy rocks. He alerted the police who confirmed the deceased body was that of Judith Vieweg; she had been stabbed multiple times in the chest. Her brutalized body was left about one-hundred feet, less than the width of a football field, from her home.
The following morning, a gravel pit worker discovered Judith’s abandoned car in a landfill pond only known to locals: a place teenagers would hang out to share beer they stole from their parents or meet up to enjoy the long summer nights. The sand pit, as it was affectionately called, was only half a mile from Judith’s house. The haphazard burial of her body and the bizarre staging of her car perplexed authorities. If she opened her door to a familiar face, how did her body and car end up in different locations?
Townsend was a place where children biked between houses, neighbors left fresh eggs out for sale, and residents rarely locked their cars. It was a safe community to start (and grow) a family. When a beloved school teacher was discovered murdered, the public was shocked that an act so gruesome happened in their quiet town. A wave of paranoia broke out; was there a serial killer on the loose? Who would have any reason to hurt the cherished young woman?
The two-part crime scene generated more questions than answers. Numerous stab wounds on Judith’s body were consistent with the notion of overkill, yet there seemed to be a remorseful element to the attempted cover-up: were the blanket and rock arrangement an act to subside the onset of guilt? Assuming Judith, a young single woman, would exercise caution when opening her front door, can we deduce she knew the killer?
Creating a profile of the potential murderer is just as enigmatic as understanding why they would want the teacher dead. While her body was stabbed, there was no evidence of sexual assault. Considering her car was hastily disposed of in an area frequented by teenagers, could a former student of Judith’s be responsible for the attack?
The murder of Judith Vieweg was only the first in a series of eerily similar slayings in central Massachusetts during the 1970s: five women killed in a span of 120 days (September 1973 to January 1974). Could the chain of regional crimes be connected or is it pure coincidence? The unsolved murder of Judith Vieweg still haunts Townsend decades later. Though her case was never formally closed, there are multiple theories that would suggest her death was not an isolated incident. Most people have heard of the six degrees of separation; the closer we look at the murder of the Judith Vieweg, the more it appears seemingly disparate crimes may be actually connected.