The Murder of Valerie Percy
An autopsy showed that Valerie had been bludgeoned up to four times on the head with a ball peen hammer, a fireplace poker or a similar instrument with a conical or triangular head. She was stabbed as many as 14 times in the neck, chest and abdomen.
Her hands, knees and left foot bore signs of defensive wounds. She had died fighting.
Evidence showed the killer got in by cutting a screen, then scoring a door pane with a glasscutter—the crash that awakened Loraine Percy.
Cops scoured the property and came up with a number of potential clues: a moccasin, a glove, a bayonet, a pocket watch, a scissors blade and a rusty knife, although none of the objects was ever determined without doubt to have been left by the killer.
Likewise, police found bare footprints of nebulous origin on the beach. Investigators told reporters that they found a good-quality fingerprint on the broken glass, palm and fingerprints on Valerie's door and a stairway railing, and hair and fibers of indeterminate origin in her room.
In adherence to Illinois law, a coroner's inquiry was mounted to establish the cause of death. The inquiry seemed like cruel overkill given the results of the autopsy.
The Percy family had flown to California and gone into seclusion for nearly two weeks after the slaying. Friends said the family read religious tracts and took long walks together to salve their grief.