DNA Solves 1973 Murder of Aspiring Law Student

Liz Jin
4 min readFeb 20

21-year-old Leslie Perlov loved art and literature and dreamed of becoming the first female president

Leslie Perlov was raped and strangled in a wooded area near Stanford University. Santa Clara Sherrif’s Office

Diane Perlov was only 20 years old when her older sister, Leslie, was brutally murdered.

For the next 50 years, she tried desperately to move on with her life, but she remained haunted by a killer whose identity was unknown.

Santa Clara County detectives tearfully recall the day they found Leslie’s lifeless body.

It was February 16, 1973, and Leslie Perlov had been missing for three days.

Detectives combed the wooded hills near Stanford University, preparing for the worst. They were devastated when they found Leslie lying face down in the dirt with her skirt hiked up above her waist.

She had been sexually assaulted and strangled, presumably by the floral scarf tied tightly around her neck.

The 21-year-old Stanford graduate loved art, travel, and literature and dreamed of becoming a lawyer. Ever the over-achiever, she was on the verge of turning those dreams into a reality.

At the time of her murder, Leslie was working at the university’s law library while waiting to hear whether she had been accepted to law school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Her family would receive her acceptance letter after her death.

Leslie has always been Diane’s protector. Now it was Diane’s turn.

Despite a mere 14-month age difference, Leslie had always played the role of the protective older sister to Diane. With Leslie gone, Diane morphed into a fierce mama bear.

She was determined to get justice for her sister, and she worked closely with law enforcement for decades to try and solve this senseless crime.

As it turns out, Leslie would help solve her own murder when, back in 1973, she viciously fought back against her attacker.

As her sister, Diane, observed, “It was only because she fought so desperately that she had the evidence underneath her fingernails.”

DNA technology points to a convicted

Liz Jin

“I wake up in the morning with a desire to both save the world and savor the world. That makes it hard to plan my day.”