Library Stalker

Michael Hanrahan ’80

When I was an undergrad from 1976 to 1980, there was a belief that someone was stalking and attacking women in the library stacks (which, by the way, could be a very dark and scary place!). Was this an urban/campus legend, or not? If not, was he or she ever caught, and what happened?

Abe

The rumors were true — there was indeed a criminal named Eugene De Voe who came to be known as the Library Stalker on campus during that time.

In 1979, De Voe attacked a woman at the UW’s Memorial Library with a fire axe. She suffered a deep cut that required 11 stitches, but she recovered. De Voe was sentenced to five years, which was the maximum at the time.

Then in 1986, De Voe was arrested again, this time for armed burglary, and was sentenced to ten years. He was paroled in 1993. In 1997, he attacked a woman at the UW’s Teacher Education building, striking her on the head with a stapler. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years. As far as I know, he’s still in jail. It’s because of this infamous axe incident that the Memorial Library requires patrons to show ID before entry.