Linda Koutrouba and Linda Kelleher had no clue why they would be called to the principal’s office in Burlington High. This was September of 1972, the very start of the school year. How could they be in trouble already? They were both seniors, on track to graduate the following spring from the brand new high school building on Cambridge Street. They didn’t really know each other. They didn’t have much in common except their initials.
But that’s exactly why FBI agents were sitting in the principal’s office waiting to chat with them. Their initials were very interesting. The FBI needed to track down the owner of a Burlington High class ring they had recovered. It looked just like this one, and it had some mysterious initials on the inside.
Both Lindas had received their class rings at the end of their junior year, just before summer break. Then Linda Koutrouba promptly lost hers at this Beach Boys concert on Boston Common on August 23, 1972.
How could she lose her class ring after just a few weeks? “I always play with my rings and tear up napkins and anything else in front of me,” she says. “So my friends call me ‘fingies.’ I suspect I was twirling and playing with my ring while watching the concert and never realized it came off. I was really bummed, but I knew searching for it was a lost cause at Boston Common with thousands of people.”
Soon after the concert, the FBI recovered a Burlington High School ring, but not in Boston. Not even close. It was in Georgia. The inside of the ring bore the initials “LJK.” Sounds easy enough to track down the owner, right? Just visit Burlington High and ask around a bit. Oh, but there was a problem. Which Burlington? There are many.
After a month of ringing school doorbells, the FBI had finally arrived in Burlington, Massachusetts. Agents were sitting face-to-face with two seniors who had “L” first names and “K” last names. One of the agents asked Linda Kelleher, “Do you still have your class ring?” She did indeed, so the ring couldn’t be hers. Besides, her middle name is Mary, so her ring says “LMK,” not “LJK.” Here it is.
Another agent asked Linda Koutrouba, “Do you have yours?” No, she didn’t! And her middle initial is Jean. At last, the FBI had found LJK, the owner of the ring!
Now it was time to break the news. “We found your ring on the finger of a dead man lying in a ditch in Georgia. Would you like your ring back when the case is finished?” No, she definitely did not want it back. So Linda Koutrouba’s “LJK” ring might still be sitting in the FBI crime lab.
Both Lindas, mere teens at the time, turned the page mentally and went back to school, eager to move on. They didn’t ask for any information about how the ring ended up where it did. Burlington Retro submitted a request via the Freedom of Information Act, but the FBI won’t talk to a “third party” due to privacy law. Linda Koutrouba is still awaiting a response to her own request. Maybe the FBI will consider her a second party and turn over the facts of the case.
If the FBI won’t talk to Linda, we might never learn about . . .
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