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Pastimes : Murder Mystery: Who Killed Yale Student Suzanne Jovin?

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1352)12/7/2014 12:44:55 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell  Read Replies (2) of 1390
Re: 12/7/2014 - New Haven Register: Forum: Who killed Suzanne Jovin? Investigators ask for public’s help

Forum: Who killed Suzanne Jovin? Investigators ask for public’s help

Whitney Avenue, East Rock and Edgehill roads and Huntington Street in New Haven.(Office of the Chief State’s Attorney)

By David R. Cameron

POSTED: 12/06/14, 4:37 PM EST | UPDATED: 3 HRS AGO

Suzanne Jovin

Sixteen years ago, shortly before 10 p.m. on Dec. 4, 1998, Suzanne Jovin, a Yale senior, was murdered near the intersection of Edgehill and East Rock roads in New Haven, almost two miles north of Yale’s Old Campus where she had been seen by a classmate only a half-hour earlier.

On Thursday, 16 years later, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane and Deputy Chief State’s Attorney John J. Russotto, accompanied by New Haven State’s Attorney Michael Dearington, New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman and investigators associated with the state’s Cold Case Unit and the Jovin Investigation Team, met with members of the public at Wilbur Cross High School to provide an update and ask the public for its help in solving the case.

Who killed Suzanne Jovin? The answer may depend on the answer to another question — perhaps the key question in the long-unsolved case: Why was she in that vicinity, almost two miles from the Old Campus, at that time of night? It seems unlikely she walked there; she had been up all night working on a paper, had had a long day, and told the classmate she ran into on the Old Campus she was very tired. But if she didn’t walk there, how did she get there? Who drove her, where did she enter the vehicle, and where did they get out of the vehicle?

After wrapping up a pizza-making party at the Trinity Lutheran Church on Orange Street that she and others in the Best Buddies program organized for their Buddies, Suzanne returned the Yale vehicle she had used to a parking lot and returned to her Park Street apartment. At 9:02 p.m., just before leaving to return the keys and mileage form to the Campus Police office in Phelps Gate on the Old Campus, she sent an email, in German, to a female classmate who had called and asked if she would return the Graduate Record Exam study materials she had borrowed. In the email, she said she had lent the materials to “someone” but would get them back and leave them in the entryway to her apartment. “Someone” has never come forward and has not been identified.

After dropping off the keys and the form around 9:20 p.m., she went out Phelps Gate to College Street and was seen walking north toward Elm Street. About a half-hour later, a man and a woman were seen and heard arguing near the front entrance to an apartment building at 750 Whitney Ave., just north of the intersection of Whitney and East Rock Road. Moments later, a man and a woman were heard arguing on East Rock Road near the apartment building. A few minutes later, a man and a woman were heard arguing near the intersection of East Rock and Edgehill. (See map.) There is some reason to believe the woman was Suzanne. Investigators are asking anyone who might have seen or heard a couple arguing in that area that evening to contact them.

A Yale-New Haven Hospital medical resident and a friend walking up East Rock Road around 9:50 p.m. heard screams. When they got close to the intersection with Edgehill they found Suzanne, who was still alive but had been stabbed 17 times in the back and neck. While the medical resident attended to Suzanne, her friend ran to get a phone, then returned and called 911. During the call, a woman driving on East Rock was heard in the background asking if they needed help. Seeing children in the car, the medical resident said no. The woman may have seen something important and investigators hope she will contact them. Another woman who took a cab from Fair Haven to Newhallville around 9:30 also may have seen something. Investigators hope she will contact them as well.

Soon after the murder, a Hamden woman told police that as she was driving home with her daughter on Whitney Avenue around 10 p.m. a man came running very fast — “as if his life depended on it” — from Huntington Street into Whitney Avenue, one block south and east of the crime scene. The man ran for a moment alongside the car, then sprinted to the east side, hurdled some shrubs, and disappeared in the darkened grounds of the Red Cross building and a church that was subsequently replaced by the new Worthington Hooker School. (See map.)

The man was described as a physically fit, athletic looking white male in his 20s to 30s with defined features and well-groomed blond or dark blond hair and wearing dark pants and a loose fitted green jacket. Investigators theorized that, after murdering Suzanne, the man ran one block south on Edgehill to Huntington and then ran down Huntington, crossed Whitney, and disappeared in the darkened grounds on the east side of Whitney Ave. The “running man” has never come forward and has not been identified.

Law enforcement in Connecticut is committed at the highest level to bringing the murderer of Suzanne Jovin to justice. But in order to make that happen, the team needs the assistance of the public. In particular, it needs any information that might shed light on the identity of the person to whom Suzanne lent the GRE materials, the couple heard arguing in front of 750 Whitney Ave. and on East Rock Road, and the “running man.” Anyone with information should contact the Jovin Investigative Team at the Cold Case Unit’s toll-free tip line, 1-866-623-8058 or by email at or U.S. mail to P.O. Box 962, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.

David R. Cameron is a professor of political science at Yale and a member of the state’s Eyewitness Identification Task Force.
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