Her name was Kitty Genovese, a woman whose murder became infamous the world over because nobody tried to save her.
It was reported back then in a vintage news report:, “At least 38 residents of this apartment building heard the screams and did nothing!"
That's the legacy of Kitty Genovese, who was murdered in Queens, New York in 1964. To this day, her sad story is taught in psychology classes, and her name is synonymous with people who look the other way when trouble happens.
But now, as the 50th anniversary of her murder approaches, bombshell revelations about what really happened.
Kevin Cook is the author of the new book, Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Changed America.
He told INSIDE EDITION, "The idea that New Yorkers watched and did nothing, didn't lift a finger to help this poor dying girl stuck in the public mind. But it was a lot more complicated than that."
Kitty Genovese was almost home when she heard a man's footsteps behind her. She ran, but the man caught up to her and stabbed her twice in the back. She screamed, "Oh, God, I’ve been stabbed!" What happened next? That's where fact and fiction take separate paths.
Cook said, "He fled, she turned and went back around this corner."
She was attacked by a man named Winston Moseley. The author says the fact that she was able to walk after the initial attack probably led people to believe they didn't have to call the cops.
"People were looking out their windows and they see her struggle to her feet. She staggered around this corner, into the darkness, and is no longer visible to the people," said Cook.
It was past 3 a.m., thinking the trouble was over, people went back to bed. They were unaware that a wounded Genovese was still in mortal danger.
She sought shelter in a vestibule and was able to get into the door to an apartment. That's when Moseley returned and raped and stabbed her to death in a vestibule. According to Cook, a man at the top of the stairs saw it happen, but did nothing to stop it.
A tragic story, but it got much worse two weeks later, when a front-page story in The New York Times declared: "Thirty-seven who saw murder didn't call the police."
The author says that number was totally distorted.
"There were certainly dozens of ear witnesses and eyewitnesses, but when you talk about the people who heard something or saw something and knew what it meant, I don't think it's more than half a dozen," said Cook.
Cook says one neighborhood man remembers his dad calling the cops on that fateful night.
"He swears his father did call the police, was put on hold, told the police, ‘There's a woman staggering around out there! She has been beaten up! You need to come!’ There was no answer to that call. In those days, there was no 911 system. That's something that came out of the Kitty Genovese case," said Cook.
So the legend of Kitty Genovese was born.
Cook said, "It led to many sermons in churches, and gossip. It went viral in the way things did in 1964.”
Winston Moseley was arrested six days after the murder. He's been in prison ever since. And right or wrong, Kitty Genovese is remembered for what people didn't do to help her.
Cook said, "The phrase that came out of this was, ‘I didn't want to get involved.’"
Last November, Moseley, who was been in prison for 49 years, was denied parole. It was the 16th time he was turned down.