Morris, the first patrolman to enter Graff’s apartment, still remembered exactly what he saw in a 2003 interview with The Eagle-Tribune. He has since died.
Graff’s lifeless, nude body was face up and sprawled across her bed. Two nylon stockings and one leg of a leotard had been knotted tightly around her neck in an elaborate bow.
Her attacker had also bitten her right breast and raped her.
“You could tell she was dead,’’ said Morris, who was 43 at the time of the slaying, in the 2003 Eagle-Tribune interview. “As a matter of fact, she was starting to turn blue. You could see her body as soon as you opened the door to her apartment. Her bed was on the right as you entered. There was no expression on her face.’’
Decades later, friend Elsie Hartung of Methuen had vivid memories of the days following Graff’s murder. She was also interviewed in 2003 and has since died.
“It was a terrible thing,’’ the 84-year-old Hartung said in 2003. “She was such a lovely woman. She was a very sweet person.’
Hartung and Graff went to the same church in Lawrence, and Hartung had Graff over for dinner at her home on Oak Street in Methuen every Wednesday night.
Hartung said Graff was a very conservative woman who wouldn’t even allow Hartung’s two sons into her apartment when they would go to pick her up every Wednesday to bring her to Hartung’s home in Methuen for dinner.
Every Saturday, she did her wash and hung it out to dry from an upstairs porch used by her and others living in the apartment building.
“She must have left the door open,’’ Hartung said in 2003. “When she went out there, and she probably figured she wasn’t going to be long, so might have left the door to her apartment unlocked. That’s the only way he could have gotten in because she wouldn’t have let him in. She wouldn’t let any boy in. She wouldn’t even let my sons into her apartment.’’