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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

"Yalem Is Gone, But Her Story Lives On"

On Sept. 29, 1990 a sophomore named Linda Yalem left her dorm at 12:15 p.m. for her daily run. At 9:30 p.m., when she had yet to return, her roommates grew worried and suspected something was wrong.

The fears and suspicions were confirmed when Yalem's body was discovered. She had been raped and murdered.

Altemio C. Sanchez strangled Yalem with a rope, raped her and murdered her. He then left her lifeless body 100 feet away from the UB bike path.

When police found a body with a T-shirt with the words ‘Run Like Hell' on it, they knew they had found Yalem's body.

In a span of 25 years, Sanchez had raped 14 women and murdered three. In 2007, when DNA samples and other leads pointed to him, he was sentenced 75 years to life behind bars.

UB hosted its 22nd Linda Yalem run on Sunday, Sept. 25 near Alumni Arena. Families, students, faculty, and organizations joined together to remember and promote awareness about Yalem's tragic rape and murder.

Runners from ages 13 to 89 had their sneakers ready and water bottles on hand to commemorate the life of Yalem. Even participants in wheelchairs, like Mary Lou Terreri from Massachusetts, completed the entire run.

"Our numbers are a little down this year, actually, because I know there are a lot of other races [going on]," said Jay Friedman, the co-race director of the run for the past 12 years and associate vice president for Alumni Relations. "But we're really good with the marketing, the T-shirts are still selling, and we're definitely still getting the message out."

Friedman stressed that the importance behind the annual run is to be sure that everyone is aware of what happened to Yalem and to be sure that it never happens again.

With over 1,500 runners and 600 volunteers, it was evident that the message was received.

The site of the run was filled with energy and the atmosphere was upbeat. Participants banded together to both run and support the cause.

"It's really important that people attend these events provided by the school. [Inter Greek Council] mandates 70 percent of all student organizations to attend these runs, and if they don't meet this criteria they're fined $50," said Jacquie Kreckel, a sophomore biology major and IGC representative for the on-campus sorority Alpha Phi. "That's how you realize, ‘wow this is really important and people need to become aware.'"

Not only did students run in the race, but each volunteer received a plastic bag and helped out the UB community by picking up the garbage that surrounded the area.

Yalem was not fortunate enough to escape the cruelness of the Bike Path Rapist, but her story continues to raise awareness and encourage others to take precautions while jogging in public spaces.

Email: features@ubspectrum.com


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