The Story of a Still Unsolved Murder of a Bismarck Woman in Oct., 1974
As we continue to get closer to Halloween, it's always interesting to look back on some of the many still unsolved murder cases around the country.
Recently, we looked at the unsolved murder of Joel Lovelien that took place around Halloween in Grand Forks back in 2007.
This story deals with a woman named Arlis Perry, originally from Bismarck, who was murdered on the campus of Stanford University.
The body of Perry, who was just 19 years old at the time, was found on the morning of Oct. 13, 1974 near a church according to The Stanford Daily.
Arlis was apparently the wife of a sophomore student at the school named Bruce Perry.
Arlis had moved to Stanford in August of 1974 to live with her husband.
The story goes that Arlis and Bruce got into an argument at around 11:30pm on the night of Oct. 12, 1974 regarding their car tire's air pressure.
Arlis then told Bruce she wanted to pray alone at Memorial Church. A security guard later told investigators that he had locked the doors to the Church at about midnight, shortly after Arlis apparently had gone inside.
The security guard said that the doors to the church remained locked when he checked at 2am.
At 3am, Bruce who had not heard from his wife since they parted ways, alerted the police that his wife was missing. When police arrived at the church shortly after, they said all the church doors were locked.
When the security guard returned to the Church on the morning of Oct. 13, he noticed that a door on the West side of the Church was open and that it had been forced open from the inside.
Arlis' body was found near the rear of the church. She was naked from the waist down. Two candlesticks were found near her body. One was next to the body, another was shoved up her blouse.
It was determined that Arlis died by a blow to the back of the head from an ice pick.
There were two key pieces of evidence found. There was DNA in the form of semen next to the body as well as a palm print on the candlestick.
An article from 1991 gives more grim details about what condition her body was found in.
Arlis' husband was cleared of any wrongdoing. Additionally, Stanford had experienced other murders on campus the previous two years but Police found no connection.
The Stanford Daily also lists conspiracy theories surrounding the murder.
One theory suggests that the murder was not conducted by a lone killer but rather by some sort of cult, possibly linking back to Satanists in Bismarck.
Another conspiracy links David Berkowitz, otherwise known as Son of Sam to the murder. Or at the very least, Berkowitz at least had a theory about the murder himself. Apparently in 1979, Berkowitz sent a book to authorities in North Dakota and in the margin he wrote, "Arlis Perry, hunted, stalked and slain, followed to California, Stanford Univ."
Additionally, reports state that a young man entered Memorial Church shortly before it closed. Some people think that man either witnessed the murder or was himself the murderer.
The case has an article on Wikipedia.
According to the article in the Stanford Daily from 2014, the case remains open.