|Re: 12/12/14 - New Haven Register: Randall Beach: Slaying of Yale student Suzanne Jovin still bringing in tips|
Randall Beach: Slaying of Yale student Suzanne Jovin still bringing in tips
POSTED: 12/11/14, 11:10 PM EST | UPDATED: 16 HRS AGO
Who killed Suzanne Jovin?
Will we ever find out?
Ever since Jovin was stabbed to death and found lying on East Rock Road in my neighborhood 16 years ago, I have written dozens of stories about this case and thought about it almost every day.
It haunts a lot of people besides, first and foremost, her family. Police investigators, citizen activists and others are still looking into the unsolved slaying of this 21-year-old Yale student.
During the 16 years I’ve been writing about this crime for the New Haven Register, many people have called me with tips about it. Some are worth looking into; some are completely off the wall. But I have always passed on all information to the police or cold case investigators, and I continue to do so.
There was a flurry of excitement last week when the cold case investigators overseen by Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane came to town to meet with East Rockers and other members of the public at Wilbur Cross High School. I know some people hoped, unrealistically, that they would learn something highly significant, perhaps even hear about a break in the case.
But this was strictly a fact-gathering session in which people were asked to fill out questionnaires about their connections to Jovin or any little detail of what they might have seen or overheard on the night of Dec. 4, 1998. Kane said he didn’t want people calling out information in a public meeting because he didn’t want to “contaminate” witnesses’ memories.
There were about 50 people who sat in the auditorium and filled out those sheets. We can only hope somebody provided some useful leads. If you think you might know anything useful, call the Jovin tip line at 1-866-623-8058, email the investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to them at: Cold Case Unit, P.O. Box 962, Rocky Hill, 06067.
Whenever I write about this case, as I did last week, I usually get new tips through phone calls, emails or letters. Last weekend a neighbor who did not make it to the forum told me he came upon the crime scene after Jovin’s body had been covered over. With his permission, I gave his name to investigators. Perhaps there’s some little detail in his memory that would be useful.
However, much more intriguing was an anonymous letter addressed to me that arrived in my office this week. I won’t go into many of the details but the writer wanted to inform me about an unnamed person who allegedly was not honest with police about his whereabouts on the night of Jovin’s murder.
I have forwarded that letter to the cold case investigators because it would be unethical for me to “sit on” information about an unsolved crime. I encourage that writer to provide me with more information. Maybe it will help. Maybe it will lead to a breakthrough. It’s worth a shot.
There has been another theory about this case that has been floating around ever since the topic of Jovin’s senior thesis was revealed: Osama bin Laden. Some people think Jovin might have been killed to keep her quiet because she “knew too much” about bin Laden and his plans. (Jovin was slain three years before the 9/11 attacks.)
This theory was raised again at the forum by Trowbridge Ford, a New Haven resident who told me he was at one time an associate editor for Eye Spy magazine.
Ford told the investigators during the public question-and-answer part of the forum that al-Qaida operatives should be considered “the first suspect.” He said they had a motive to kill Jovin.
When I approached Ford after the forum to get his name, he loaned me a copy of the book “Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers” by Annie Machon. Ford said there was information in the book about the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and he told me “they were responsible for killing Suzanne.”
“They killed her because she was threatening to expose this whole plot of the 9/11 attacks,” he said.
Ford conceded he has not been able to read Jovin’s thesis, which he thinks should be made public. ”All I know is that it’s about Osama bin Laden — and that’s enough for me to be most eager to read it. For her to be writing a thesis about him at that time must have been very explosive.”
Ford told me this week he was disappointed the Jovin investigators showed so little interest in pursuing his theory or following up with him about it. “At the meeting they made it clear I wasn’t worth talking to, so I didn’t embarrass myself” by pushing them further.
Ford even told me the names of the two Libyans he believes killed Jovin. He admitted he came up with this theory on his own. “I’m just a lone wolf. But it’s amazing how uninterested people are in this.”
I’m not placing any credence in Ford’s theory but I did ask the cold case investigators about it. They declined to comment on that topic or on Jovin’s thesis. Yale spokesman Thomas Conroy told me the university will not provide any of Jovin’s academic records without the permission of her family.
Contact Randall Beach at email@example.com or 203-680-9345.