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Cold Case: Teen's Murder Cracked After 41 Years

Comstock/Thinkstock(LOWELL, Mass.) -- More than 41 years after 15-year-old John McCabe was found bound and dead in a vacant Lowell, Mass., lot, authorities said they finally know who was responsible for the young man's murder.

Three men were arrested Friday for the murder of McCabe, of Tewksbury, Mass., on Sept. 27, 1969, as he was on his way home from a school dance, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone announced Friday.

"It is remarkable that, after nearly 42 years, we were able to tell the McCabe family that their son's murder was solved," Leone told ABC News. "We think this provides hope to families of other unsolved homicide victims and would encourage them to never lose faith that their loved one's case can be solved.

"It also serves as a warning to those who have committed these crimes: We never give up on victims," he said.

The three men allegedly involved in McCabe's death are Edward Brown, 59, Walter Shelley, 60, and Michael Ferreira, 57. Only Shelley is charged with murder, while Brown faces manslaughter charges and Ferreira, who was not yet a legal adult at the time of the crime, will face juvenile murder charges as well as a perjury charge for lying in court regarding the case.

According to authorities, McCabe was abducted by the three men and held against his will in their car, where he then was assaulted, bound and gagged so badly he no longer could breathe. Authorities believe McCabe was targeted because the other young men were upset about him speaking to a girl at the dance.

McCabe's body later was dumped in a nearby lot and left to die, according to Leone. His cause of death later was determined to be asphyxia due to strangulation.

At a press conference Friday, McCabe's sisters thanked authorities for their hard work. Their parents did not speak.

Messages left for Brown, Shelley and Ferreira were not immediately returned. Lawyers for the three defendants were not immediately known.

Shelley and Ferreira are being held on $500,000 cash bail while Brown was released on his own recognizance. Shelley and Brown's next court date is scheduled for May 26 and Ferreira will be back before a judge on April 18.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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