She was found dead on the side of Route 128 in 1986. A man was just indicted for her murder.

Claire Gravel was a 20-year-old Salem State sophomore when she was killed.

A picture of Claire Gravel. – Essex District Attorney’s Office

More than 35 years after a 20-year-old Salem State sophomore was found dead on the side of a highway in Beverly, the Essex district attorney’s office has announced that a man has been indicted in connection with her death.

On Wednesday morning, an Essex County grand jury indicted 63-year-old John Carey for the murder of Claire Gravel on June 30, 1986, according to Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

Carey is currently serving a prison term at MCI Concord for a separate 2008 conviction for attempted murder and will be arraigned on one count of first-degree murder in superior court at a later date, Blodgett said in a press conference Wednesday. Carey had been a person of interest prior to this indictment, he said.


A new lead in the case developed in 2012, and officials worked diligently to solve the case, the DA said. Evidence recovered from Gravel’s clothing was instrumental in reaching Wednesday’s announcement, Blodgett said.

“I want to thank everybody here for their tireless and relentless pursuit of justice for Claire,” he said. “We continually view cold cases, hoping that new techniques and fresh looks will result in a breakthrough. We are mindful of the victims and their family members who continue to want answers, and they’re not forgotten. We must pursue those responsible and seek to hold them accountable.”

On June 30, 1986, Gravel’s body was found on the side of Massachusetts Route 128 in Beverly. An investigation revealed that Gravel was out with friends the night of June 29 and was dropped at her apartment by a friend early in the morning of June 30.

“Over the years investigators have interviewed dozens of witnesses and persons of interest and followed through on every lead and tip they received,” Blodgett said.

The DA’s office has been in touch with Gravel’s family, he said, and they expressed relief that the person responsible has been identified. Gravel’s father has carried her photo in his wallet for 36 years, Blodgett said.


Additional evidence and details will be explained at the arraignment, he said.


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