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   PastimesMurder Mystery: Who Killed Yale Student Suzanne Jovin?

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1342)11/24/2014 10:12:49 AM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 11/24/14 - New Haven Register: Police re-examine Yale student Suzanne Jovin’s murder; New Haven forum set for Dec. 4

Police re-examine Yale student Suzanne Jovin’s murder; New Haven forum set for Dec. 4

Suzanne Jovin
By Register Staff

POSTED: 11/22/14, 11:20 PM EST

NEW HAVEN >> Nearly 16 years after she was viciously stabbed to death and found crumpled near the corner of Edgehill and East Rock roads, the memory of Suzanne Jovin’s death is still fresh in the minds of New Haven police and investigators, and they are hoping some miniscule detail or memory from that night is still fresh in the minds of prospective witnesses.

The Jovin Investigation Team will meet with members of the public on Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. at Wilbur Cross High School to release more details in its investigation and is asking the public to come out and discuss, re-examine, or provide information that may help lead to the arrest of the person who stabbed Jovin 17 times. It will be the 16th anniversary of the brutal murder that sent shock waves through New Haven and captured headlines around the nation.

On Saturday, students from Hillhouse High School were passing out flyers in the East Rock neighborhood where Jovin was killed, asking for public participation.

“We continue to pursue investigative leads in an effort to solve this tragic murder,” the Team stated on the flyer. “We are asking for a renewed commitment by the public to assist in solving the homicide of Suzanne Jovin. We are interested in all available information or leads, no matter how remote or trivial that information may seem. We want to hear from anyone who has heard something, or who may even have repressed the knowledge of something that could related to the murder of Suzanne Jovin. Do not assume that someone else has already provided the information. Even if you have already made a call in response to previous requests for information, you should call again so that the team may follow every possible lead.”

On the night of Dec. 4, 1998, Jovin participated in a gathering at Trinity Lutheran Church for the Best Buddies group that she volunteered for. After the gathering, she went home and then went to Phelps Gate to return the key of the Yale vehicle she borrowed for the Best Buddies event. She was last seen leaving Phelps Gate at about 9:25 p.m. It is believed that was the last time anyone, except the killer, saw her alive. At approximately 9:55 p.m., a 911 call alerted police a white female was lying in the street near the corner of Edgehill and East Rock roads.

Jovin was just 21, entering her final semester at Yale where she was studying political science and international studies, and preparing for the career that would have followed.

Since her death, suspects have been developed, but none have panned out. Yale instructor James Van de Velde, who at one time was a prime suspect, was cleared and settled a lawsuit with New Haven and Yale.Van de Velde left town after Yale officials canceled his classes for the spring semester of 1999 because they said he would be “a distraction” in the classroom during the murder investigation. He was never charged in the crime and always maintained he was innocent. The city agreed to pay him $200,000. Yale did not release the terms of its agreement. Another suspect died.

At the forum on Dec. 4, the Team will ask the public to consider the following:

• On the evening of Suzanne Jovin’s death, a female passenger took a taxi from the area of Blatchley Avenue to the Newhallville section of New Haven at about 9:30 p.m. This passenger may be a potential witness.

• On the night Suzanne died, shortly before she left her apartment, she was planning to retrieve study materials for the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) from an acquaintance who borrowed them from her. That person is not considered a suspect, but may know something about Suzanne’s plans that night.

• A couple out walking that night heard screams and subsequently found Suzanne on the ground. They immediately called 911. During that call (at approximately 9:55 p.m.), a person who was driving by the scene was overheard by dispatch asking the couple if they needed any help. Police are attempting to find that potential witness in the vehicle who may be unaware of the significance of what may have been seen.

The Team, which consists of New Haven police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Office of Chief State’s Attorney Cold Case Unit and the Office of the New Haven State’s Attorney, says “no information is too trivial or too minor.”

The Jovin Investigation Team is hoping that someone out there has the missing detail that will enable them to bring Jovin’s killer to justice and bring closure to her parents, Tom and Donna Jovin.

In February 2000, Tom Jovin, who lives in Germany, told the Register in an email about the killer: “He will not succeed in evading justice.”

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1343)11/25/2014 2:59:45 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 11/25/2014 - Yale Daily News: 16 years later, police look for new clues in Jovin murder

16 years later, police look for new clues in Jovin murder


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On the 16th anniversary of the unsolved murder of then-Yale College senior Suzanne Jovin ’99, investigators will convene to re-examine her fatal stabbing.

The Jovin investigation team has scheduled a community meeting at Wilbur Cross High School for Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. The event is intended to allow members of the public to come forward with any information they may have regarding Jovin’s murder, which remains a cold case. The 21-year-old Yale student was found dead near the corner of Edgehill and East Rock Roads on the night of Dec. 4, 1998, with a slit throat and 17 stab wounds to the back of her head and neck.

“The purpose of this community meeting is to find people in the community who may remember details which, to them, may seem inconsequential but could be important to the investigation,” said Mark Dupuis, communications and legislative specialist at the Office of Chief State’s Attorney. “We will not be making any announcements or discussing any details of the investigation.”

The team probing the murder — which includes representatives from the New Haven Police Department, the Division of Criminal Justice, the Office of Chief State’s Attorney’s Cold Case Unit and the Office of the New Haven State’s Attorney — will seek information on three principal leads, the New Haven Register first reported.

The first concerns a passenger in a taxi near the scene of the crime. At 9:30 p.m. on the night of the crime, less than 30 minutes before police were alerted to Jovin’s murder, a female passenger — a potential witness — rode a taxi from the Blatchley Avenue area to Newhallville. The taxi’s route cuts through Whitney and Prospect Avenues, one of which Jovin would have had to travel up to reach Edgehill and East Rock from Phelps Gate, where she was last seen.

The second concerns an individual who communicated with the couple that found Jovin’s body. A recording of the call made to police at 9:55 p.m. to notify authorities of Jovin’s murder may also contain an additional witness. The couple that heard Jovin’s screams and found her body called 911 and spoke to police. But another person driving by was overheard on dispatch asking the callers if they needed help. Investigators believe the person in the vehicle may have seen or heard something relevant to the crime.

Finally, authorities are looking for an individual from whom Jovin was, according to her own email correspondence, planning to collect study materials for the Graduate Record Examinations the night of her murder.

The only suspect whose identity has been made public in the case is James Van de Velde ’82, a former political science lecturer at Yale and Jovin’s senior thesis adviser, who was questioned days after the killing. On June 6, 2013, Michael Dearington, the New Haven state’s attorney, confirmed to the News that Van de Velde was no longer a suspect in the Jovin case. In 2013, Van de Velde settled a 12-year defamation lawsuit against the city and the University. Since then, no new suspects’ identities have been disclosed to the public.

New Haven Police Department spokesman David Hartman said he was not aware of the upcoming meeting but agreed with Dupuis that though the Jovin murder is a cold case, it remains an ongoing investigation. He said details of such cases are typically not revealed.

“There are cold cases that are decades old that are solved from time to time,” Hartman said. “As a case gets older the possibility of new leads arising is weaker, but that does not mean at all that things don’t happen.”

Franz Douskey — a resident of the greater New Haven area and a former creative writing professor at Yale — said he has pushed for a public forum to discuss the Jovin case for 15 years. His interest in the case stems from being a former resident of East Rock, the neighborhood where Jovin’s body was found. Although he taught at Yale while the victim was a student, Douskey said he did not know Jovin.

Douskey has privately organized periodical meetings at Gateway Community College since Jovin’s murder. These forums, attended by community members and investigators, have followed a similar format to the upcoming gathering at Wilbur Cross — inviting people to share information regarding the murder.

“I’m all for [the meeting] because, no matter how it happens, we really need to get information out,” Douskey said. “There might be somebody who has some information but has been reluctant to speak up. Some folks have been here a long time.”

Douskey said he plans to attend the forum on Dec. 4 to urge investigators to go house-to-house to hunt down any fragment of pertinent information on the case. The investigators have the access and the authority to ask people to talk if they know something, he said.

Students from James Hillhouse High School applied the house-to-house approach on Saturday and walked around the East Rock neighborhood where Jovin was stabbed. They passed out flyers advertising the upcoming meeting and calling for community members to come forward with further information on the leads outlined by Jovin’s investigation team or any other aspect of her murder.

Jovin was a member of Davenport College and studied political science and international relations at Yale.

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From: termination11/25/2014 4:20:11 PM
   of 1390
Nice outing of "Billy"

Who's the "Guest" who oh so creatively linked a Yale Architecture article with Billy's real name in it in today's article. Seriously, do you guys really think it was him? You're telling me the cops wouldn't just slam the dead man's good name if it were, in a heartbeat? They no doubt had some palm print and/or DNA from Fresca etc. I don't think it was Jim, or "Billy." I guarantee you there's a new suspect they're developing information on, hence the renewed push to get some cab ride witness info, earwitnesses, etc.

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To: termination who wrote (1345)11/25/2014 4:58:34 PM
From: termination
   of 1390
I'm somewhat new to following this case, and I'm kind of intrigued at the recent uptick. Is this something that routinely happens a bit before the anniversary? Or do we think that this hearing they're holding is actually tied to a substantive case development? All I've been saying is, it was wrong to slam an innocent Professor VDV. Isn't it equally unfair to throw all this blame toward Billy, ESPECIALLY because he's not here to defend himself? I guess you Billy doubters won't give up until you directly hear from the investigators that his palm print didn't match? It just seems like all the recent investigation in other directions makes me the think they know it's not him.

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To: termination who wrote (1346)11/25/2014 9:30:43 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
You are making an assumption this is an active case. It's not. It's a 16 year-old ice cold case with police and volunteers working this and a hundred other cases simultaneously. Therefore, to assume inactivity means someone is cleared would not be accurate.

Insofar as "Billy" is concerned, the group that first wondered about him went to the police many many months prior to his alias ever being put in print. They were met with, yes, inactivity. All they really wanted the police to do was ask the running man witness to look at a picture of Billy wearing his favorite loose-fitting green jacket. Had this witness said "sorry, not the guy" or even "sorry, not the jacket", then case closed on Billy. Seems like a logical request, right? Had this witness ruled out Billy way back then, that's the last he'd have been mentioned. Rather, it was the inactivity and the frustration that went along with it that ended up making Billy's name bantered about from person to person and finally in print. To be clear, the action taken was a function of the inactivity, not a function of whether the guy was dead or alive.

You bring up the palm print on the Fresca bottle. We've known about that for more than a decade. We've had the tip of the murder weapon for more than a decade. We've been asking for the print to be DNA tested, and for the knife to be exactly determined from its metal composition... to no avail. So if zero analysis of the evidence itself has been done (more inactivity), how on earth can we assume any extrapolations have to have also been done?

Lastly, yes, there's a flurry of activity every year around 12/4, the anniversary of her death. But, yes, this year the volume has been amped up. For those of us who want this solved, that's a good thing. I'll be at the meeting in New Haven that day to see if anything comes of it. But as these meetings are usually one-way (i.e. the police solicit info, not share), I'm not expecting anything earth shattering.

- Jeff

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1347)12/4/2014 1:01:09 AM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 12/3/2014 - New Haven Register: Suzanne Jovin investigators seek witness near murder scene

Suzanne Jovin investigators seek witness near murder scene

Eli Whitney Luxury Apartments

By Randall Beach, New Haven Register

POSTED: 12/03/14, 5:45 PM EST | UPDATED: 30 SECS AGO

Suzanne Jovin

NEW HAVEN >> When investigators of the Suzanne Jovin slaying host their Thursday night forum at Wilbur Cross High School, one goal will be to seek witnesses to a couple arguing outside an apartment building near where Jovin’s body was found.

The state’s cold case unit representatives timed the public meeting to coincide with the Dec. 4, 1998 anniversary of Jovin’s death. It is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

Jovin, 21, was a Yale senior, majoring in political science and international studies. Authorities aren’t sure where she was killed but she was discovered mortally wounded, suffering from 17 stab wounds, on East Rock Road at about 9:55 p.m.

Now, 16 years later, authorities want to verify the account of a witness who saw a man and woman in a heated argument outside the Eli Whitney Luxury Apartments at 750 Whitney Ave. That building is at the corner of East Rock Road.

“We have a witness who saw the argument in front of the apartment building,” said John T. Edwards, chief inspector in the office of Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane.

“A white couple came out the front door and walked through the two people who were arguing,” Edwards said, quoting the witness’ account.

In addition to looking for that “white couple,” Edwards said, “We’re seeking anybody who was at 750 Whitney and might have overheard this.” He said the argument occurred at about 9:30 to 9:40 p.m.

On two recent weekends, high school volunteers distributed leaflets in the East Rock neighborhood, urging residents to come to the meeting “to discuss any information from the night of Dec. 4, 1998.”

“We are asking for a renewed commitment by the public to assist in solving the homicide of Suzanne Jovin,” the leaflet stated. “We are interested in all available information or leads, no matter how remote or trivial that information may seem.”

Those who cannot come to the meeting can call the Jovin investigation team tip line: 1-866-623-8058. The email address is The U.S. Mail address is: Cold Case Unit, P.O. Box 962, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.

The state has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murderer or murderers. Yale University has pledged an additional $100,000 to that reward fund.

The leaflet notes that on the night Jovin was killed, a female passenger took a taxi from the area of Blatchley Avenue to Newhallville at about 9:30 p.m. Investigators think this passenger could be a witness to the murder and they want to find her.

In addition, the leaflet stated that while the couple who found Jovin called 911, a person driving past the scene was overheard by the police dispatcher asking the couple if they needed help. Investigators are also trying to find that witness.

The leaflet noted that on the night Jovin died, she was planning to retrieve from another student Jovin’s study materials for the Graduate Records Examination. “That person is not considered a suspect but may know something about Suzanne’s plans that night.” Investigators want to find that former student.

Authorities at the public meeting are not expected to provide many specific details of their work, as the investigation obviously is ongoing and all information is sensitive. But Edwards said, “We’re making good progress. We will give a progress report.”

“People have come forward and we’re re-interviewing other people,” he said. “We’ve gotten some new information.”

During the forum, Edwards said, “We can talk about the timeline” of Jovin’s final hour. That night she had volunteered at the Best Buddies group gathering at Trinity Lutheran Church on Orange Street. Then she went back to her apartment on Park Street and from there, she walked to Yale’s Phelps Gate, where she returned the keys to the Yale vehicle she had borrowed for the gathering.

She was last seen leaving Phelps Gate at about 9:25 p.m.

What happened after that?

Call Randall Beach at 203-680-9345.

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1348)12/4/2014 11:43:43 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 12/4/2014 - New Haven Register: Investigators appeal for public’s help to solve Suzanne Jovin slaying

Investigators appeal for public’s help to solve Suzanne Jovin slaying

Suzanne Jovin

By Randall Beach, New Haven Register

POSTED: 12/04/14, 9:23 PM EST

NEW HAVEN >> On the 16th anniversary of the night Suzanne Jovin was murdered, cold case investigators Thursday appealed to the public for help in putting together “a jigsaw puzzle” with a “mystery gap” of 20-30 minutes.

The unusual forum drew about 50 residents, many of them from the East Rock neighborhood where Jovin was found mortally wounded. They walked into the Wilbur Cross High School auditorium and stared up at a giant photo of a young woman with a radiant smile.

“Suzanne was a 21-year-old senior at Yale University,” the text read beneath her face. “She was an outstanding student, co-founder of the German Club, sang in the chorus and participated in a mentoring program.”

The session, which lasted one hour, provided virtually no new information on the case. Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, who did most of the talking, urged the residents to fill out a detailed questionnaire concerning what they might have observed on the night of Dec. 4, 1998, rather than calling out the details of anything they might know.

In a further effort to keep things low-key and private, no cameras were allowed inside the auditorium.

Kane, whose office oversees the state’s cold case investigations, said, “This is one that’s grabbed us and I know it’s grabbing you.”

Speaking beneth a a photo of yellow police tape stretched around the corner of East Rock and Edgehill roads, where Jovin was found, Kane said, “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing. Putting the pieces together might solve this.”

A map was projected showing the known whereabouts of Jovin that evening. “We know Suzanne was last seen at about 9:25 p.m. Dec. 4,” Kane said. “She walked out of (Yale’s) Phelps Gate, toward College Street and made a left.”

Kane noted she was not headed toward her Park Street apartment because she was going in the wrong direction.

“At 9:55 p.m., she was found, still alive, but having been stabbed, near East Rock and Edgehill’s intersection,” Kane noted. (Jovin was stabbed 17 times).

Kane said investigators don’t know what happened during that half-hour between the time she was seen at Phelps Gate and was found on the ground near that neighborhood corner. The distance between the two sites is about two miles.

“How did she get to that corner?” Kane asked. He said it’s unlikely she ran there in that time, so she almost certainly was driven to that spot.

Then Kane revealed the only recently-released information about the case, as was reported in Wednesday’s New Haven Register: a couple was heard arguing outside the front of the apartment building at 750 Whitney Ave., at the corner of East Rock Road, at about the time of Jovin’s slaying.

Kane said investigators are “very interested” in hearing if anybody saw that couple arguing, in addition to the one witness who has already reported seeing it. Kane noted a “white couple” came out of the building and walked past the arguing couple. Investigators want that “white couple” to come forward and recall what they observed.

Kane said a witness also reported hearing a man and woman arguing in back of that same apartment building. “Maybe it was the same couple who were arguing in front.”

But Kane said investigators don’t know if those arguments are linked to what happened to Jovin nearby.

“This was a warm night,” Kane noted. “I’m told it was 73 degrees, one of those days that comes as a miracle in December. People would have been driving around with their windows open.”

He added, “In the middle of that, there was a scream.”

“A couple was walking from that corner of East Rock Road to Whitney Avenue, looking at the holiday lights,” he said. “When they got close to Whitney, they heard a scream. They didn’t think much about it until they got back up the hill and saw Suzanne: still alive, still breathing.”

Kane said the man called 911 while the woman, who was a doctor, “tried to save Suzanne’s life.”

He said a car then came around the corner and the female driver asked: “Do you need help?” The doctor, noticing three young kids in the car, said, “No, thank you,” and the woman drove off. Investigators want to talk to her too, to find out what she observed.

Kane also talked about “the running man,” that mysterious figure seen by a motorist sprinting down Whitney Avenue from Huntington Street toward Hamden at about the time of the murder. Where he was seen is about two blocks from the crime scene.

“Where did he come from?” Kane asked. “Where did he go? Why was he running? Did anybody else see him?”

Kane said you can’t describe the man as a jogger because “he was actually running faster than the car.”

The witness said she saw him jump over a fence and disappear.

Kane apologized for not having any “big announcement” about the case; he said it was up to the people in the auditorium and others who might have observed something to help solve it.

“We are looking at some leads in different directions,” he added.

New Haven Police Chief Dean Esserman, who noted he was not in New Haven at the time of the Jovin murder, also briefly addressed the audience. “You’re going to see more of this (type of forum) in New Haven. There are other unsolved murders and New Haven police are going to (re)visit them.”

Among the half-dozen questions that came from the audience was a recommendation from New Haven resident Trowbridge Ford that investigators look into the al-Qaida angle.

“Al-Qaida was in a rabid state at that time and Suzanne was writing a thesis about them,” Ford noted. “It seems to me that’s the first suspect you should look at. Al-Qaida was trying to fool Americans about where it was going to attack. Here’s this Yale student and the next thing she’s killed like she’s some sort of jihadist heretic.”

“With al-Qaida, you do have a motive,” Ford concluded.

Kane said the focus should remain on the time gap and the neighborhood where the killing occurred.

After the meeting, Ford said he was the former associate editor of Eye Spy magazine.

Call Randall Beach at 203-680-9345. Do you have questions, feedback or ideas about our news coverage? Connect with New Haven Register editors at

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1349)12/5/2014 12:42:35 AM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 12/3/2014 - New Haven Register: Suzanne Jovin’s killer can be found, with public’s help

DAVID R. CAMERON: Suzanne Jovin’s killer can be found, with public’s help

Suzanne Jovin

By David R. Cameron

POSTED: 12/03/13, 5:59 PM EST | UPDATED: ON 12/03/2013

Shortly before 10 p.m. on Dec. 4 15 years ago, Suzanne Jovin, 21, a Yale College senior, was murdered near the intersection of Edgehill and East Rock roads, two miles north of Yale’s Old Campus, where she had been seen only a half-hour earlier. She was stabbed 17 times in the back and neck, stabbed so forcefully that the tip of the knife broke off inside her body.

Given the brief amount of time that transpired between when she was seen walking to the Phelps Gate office of the Yale police and when she was attacked and the fact that several people heard her screams and one person had a very close encounter with the likely murderer, there was no reason to think the murderer would not be identified and arrested quickly.

Yet incredibly, 15 years later, there is still no answer to the question that haunts her family and friends and all those who have investigated the case: Who killed Suzanne Jovin?

The police immediately focused on James Van de Velde, a Yale graduate and former residential college dean who was a lecturer in political science, the instructor of a course Jovin was taking, and the adviser of her required senior research paper. They heard from various sources that she was upset about his delays in giving her feedback on the paper earlier that week — Dec. 4, 1998, was a Friday — and was unhappy with his advising and teaching.

Within days, Van de Velde was labeled by the local media, courtesy of leaks from the investigation, as the “prime suspect.” Under the circumstances, it might have been reasonable to consider him a “person of interest.” But in retrospect, the single-minded focus on Van de Velde blew the investigation off course from the outset and kept it off course for many years. Most importantly, it caused investigators to disregard the large number of other men she knew.

It was not until June, after his long-standing lawsuit against Yale and the city was settled, that the “suspect” label was removed from Van de Velde. When asked after the announcement of the settlement if he no longer considers Van de Velde a suspect, State’s Attorney Michael Dearington said, “I think that’s fair to say. I guess I can say at this point in time he’s not considered a suspect.”

Aside from being blown off course at the outset, there have been some important setbacks in the investigation. None was more devastating than the 2009 announcement that the male DNA found in 2001 in the fingernail scrapings came not from an as-yet-unidentified suspect but from a technician in the state’s forensic lab. It was bad enough that it took more than two years to test the scrapings — literally the first place one would look for the DNA of the perpetrator in such an attack. It was incomparably worse that the DNA that was found turned out eight years later to be the result of lab contamination.

But there have also been some important steps forward. In 2006, the New Haven prosecutors agreed, after years of resistance, to turn the case over to the state’s cold case unit. Created in 1998, the unit, located in the chief state’s attorney’s Rocky Hill office, has compiled a remarkable record of solving difficult and long-unsolved cases. But its resources are limited and it was already fully engaged in a large number of investigations. So Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane and Dearington decided to create a four-man task force of retired state police detectives, headed by John Mannion, the former commanding officer of the State Police Central District Major Crime Squad, to investigate the case.

Free of the initial fixation on Van de Velde and with fresh eyes and a great deal of investigative experience, the Mannion team developed a number of new leads. One involved a mysterious “someone” mentioned by Jovin in an email she sent at 9:02 p.m. After wrapping up the pizza-making party she and the others in the Yale Best Buddies program organized for their Buddies, Jovin returned the Yale vehicle she had used to a parking lot and returned to her Park Street apartment. 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, Jovin said she had lent the materials to “someone” but would get them back and leave them in the foyer of her apartment. The Mannion team made that information public more than five years ago.“Someone” has not yet come forward and has not been identified. After dropping off the key and form at the Phelps Gate police office, Jovin walked out to College Street and was last seen walking north. Had she perhaps arranged to meet “someone” at Phelps Gate or someplace else?

The Mannion team also returned to the account of a Hamden woman who 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, ran for a moment alongside the car, then sprinted to the east side, hurdled some shrubs, and disappeared in the darkened grounds between the Red Cross and the church that has been replaced by the new Worthington Hooker School.

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. The police arranged for the woman to do a field view — a surreptitious viewing — of Van de Velde. She said he wasn’t the “running man.” The police, convinced the “running man” was the killer but also convinced Van de Velde was the killer, wrote her off as an unreliable witness. (They theorized the man had run one block south on Edgehill and then down Huntington toward Whitney.) They didn’t have a police sketch prepared and didn’t seek the public’s assistance in identifying the “running man.”

The Mannion team reconstructed the encounter, had a New York police artist prepare a sketch based on her description, and circulated it widely. That happened more than five years ago. The “running man” has not yet come forward and has not been identified. It’s highly unlikely he was just a jogger; joggers don’t sprint “as if their life depended on it” straight across Whitney into oncoming traffic, jump shrubs and run into darkened areas at 10 p.m.

For various reasons, the Mannion team’s formal involvement in the investigation ended two years ago, although they continue as consultants. (Mannion is now the deputy police chief in East Haven.) The case is now back with the state’s cold case unit in Rocky Hill. But the unit has limited investigative resources — a result of the state’s chronic underfunding of the Division of Criminal Justice and the need to move some senior inspectors to other critical assignments — and the few resources it has are spread very thinly; the unit is now engaged in nearly 50 investigations and there are, in all, more than 900 — yes, 900 — unsolved homicides in the state.

There can be no doubt whatsoever that the chief state’s attorney’s office is committed at the highest levels to bringing the murderer of Suzanne Jovin to justice. But it needs help — from the public in bringing information about the case to it and from the state so that it has the investigative resources needed to continue the good work done by the Mannion team. Without that help, we may never find out who killed Suzanne Jovin. But with that help, we surely will.

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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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1350)12/5/2014 9:30:09 AM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 12/5/2014 - Yale Daily News: Jovin investigators seek public input

Jovin investigators seek public input


Friday, December 5, 2014

Sixteen years after the body of Suzanne Jovin ’99 was found on the corner of Edgehill and East Rock Roads, the team still investigating her murder is calling on New Haven residents for information that could help identify a culprit.

A couple found the 21-year-old on the night of her murder with 17 stab wounds to the back of her head and neck and a slit throat. Investigators convened Thursday evening at Wilbur Cross High School to gather information and potential leads from nearly 50 members of the public.

“We’re reaching out in a last-ditch hope that somebody will remember something,” Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane said. “We, just as much as you, want to know answers.”

The investigation team, which is comprised of representatives from the New Haven Police Department, the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice, Office of Chief State’s Attorney’s Cold Case Unit and the Office of the New Haven State’s Attorney, did not reveal new information at last night’s meeting. Kane said that the team did not want to “contaminate” witnesses’ memories.

Kane sought further information on reports of a couple seen arguing shortly before the murder. According to the reports, the couple was outside the Eli Whitney Apartments on Whitney Avenue — a block from where Jovin was found. Kane said the investigators had reason to believe that Jovin was one of the two people arguing, and he asked attendees at the meeting if any of them had witnessed the argument and remembered the words or tones of voice from the argument.

“No detail is too small; no detail is too trivial,” Deputy Chief State’s Attorney John Russotto said. “It might cause us to look at something differently.”

The team is also looking for an individual who may have seen the murderer fleeing the scene of the crime. This individual was a woman driving by the couple who found Jovin as they called the police. A police recording of the couple’s phone call reveals a voice of the driver asking if the couple needed help. The woman in the couple, a doctor, was tending to Jovin, who was still alive when they found her. She noticed that the driver had young children in the car and refused her help in order not to frighten the children. Police believe that the driver may have seen Jovin’s murderer leaving the corner of Edgehill and East Rock roads either by foot or by car.

The investigators required attendees to sign in at the door, where they were handed a form that had questions about their observations on the night of the murder and potential knowledge about the victim. One question asked whether members of the public knew the individual to whom Jovin had loaned her GRE study materials. On the night she was killed, Jovin had sent an email to a friend saying she was going to pick up her materials from someone, but that individual’s identity is still unknown.

Russotto asked that members of the public share their observations either through the questionnaire or privately with the investigation team to avoid confusing their stories with those of other witnesses.

Although attendees were discouraged from openly sharing new information at the meeting, they posed a number of questions to the team about the facts of the case that have already been made public.

New Haven resident and local attorney Emmet Hibson said he attended a Yale vs. Princeton ice hockey game at Ingalls Rink — less than a mile and half from where Jovin was found — at 7:30 p.m. that night. The game ended around the time of the murder, he said. Hibson asked investigators whether they had considered asking attendees of the game if they had seen anything abnormal.

New Haven resident Trowbridge Ford said it was unusual that the student who had borrowed Jovin’s GRE materials had not come forward after her death. He asked if investigators had considered the student to be a possible suspect.

“Don’t jump to conclusions,” Kane said in response to Ford. “You can’t assume that there isn’t an innocent explanation.”

Ford added that he believes the police should consider Al Qaeda as a potential suspect. He said that the topic of Jovin’s senior thesis — Osama bin Laden — could have prompted the terrorist organization to assassinate her.

“I see Al Qaeda as a prime suspect; they fooled the Americans,” Ford said. “Jovin’s stab wounds indicate that this is a Jihadist killing.”

Kane said in response that observations from community members rather than theories were more helpful for the investigators.

Since the murder, only one suspect’s identity — that of Jovin’s senior thesis advisor James Van de Velde ’82 — has been disclosed to the public. On June 6, 2013, New Haven state’s attorney Michael Dearington said that police no longer consider Van de Velde a suspect. Last year, Van de Velde settled a defamation lawsuit against the University and the city.

Dearington declined to say whether or not the identities of any future suspects would be disclosed. Some remain doubtful that last night’s meeting will give investigators useful information.

“I think the meeting is a great idea,” said Gilles Carter, a documentary filmmaker living in East Rock. “But, at this point, I think it might be more theater than anything else.”

This year’s meeting does not mark the first time that the investigation team has deferred to the public for additional information. Investigators reached out to the New Haven community members last year to gather tips about the case as well.

NHPD Chief of Police Dean Esserman said that although the case has been classified as cold, investigators will continue to push for information.

“You’re going to see more of this in New Haven,” Esserman said. “There are more unsolved murders, and the New Haven Police Department is going to look into them.”

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1351)12/6/2014 2:34:10 AM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
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Re: 12/5/2014 - Hartford Courant: New Plea For Clues To Unsolved Jovin Slaying In New Haven

New Plea For Clues To Unsolved Jovin Slaying In New Haven

Suzanne Jovin. (Handout)

By Alaine Griffin

Police Seek New Clues To Solve 1998 Murder Of Suzanne Jovin In New Haven

NEW HAVEN — If there ever was a December night to find witnesses to a crime in this city, it would have been on Dec. 4, 1998.

Temperatures soared oddly into the 70s on that Friday night 16 years ago, when Yale undergraduate Suzanne Jovin was stabbed to death in the East Rock section of the city.

The residential neighborhood was especially busy with joggers, dog walkers and motorists with their windows rolled down on all blocks and corners, savoring the unusual warmth. They knew a long winter was not far away.

Police officials and prosecutors turned to those neighborhood residents Thursday during a community meeting at Wilbur Cross High School, hoping for additional clues to what has become one of Connecticut's most infamous unsolved murders.

Sure, investigators said they were looking for all possible leads in the slaying of Jovin, 21, of Goettingen, Germany, a star student fluent in four languages and co-founder of Yale's German club.

But Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane was focused at Thursday night's meeting on a specific time frame, asking the crowd of about 60 people to recall what they might have seen or heard that night between 9:40 and 10 p.m.

"Some of you may have seen something that you maybe thought was a little thing, that you didn't think was significant," Kane said. "We're reaching out in a last-ditch hope that somebody remembers something. I don't expect a big piece but a few little pieces might just turn out to be a big piece."

The color of a car. An overheard word. The clothes a jogger was wearing. Any "innocent observations," Kane said.

"We have a reason for asking these questions," he added.

A student last saw Jovin walking downtown on College Street near Phelps Gate on Yale's campus at 9:25 p.m. About 10 minutes later, "multiple" witnesses said they heard a couple arguing in front of the apartment building at 750 Whitney Ave., and later in back of it, Kane said.

"We do believe another couple came out [of the building] and walked right past" the arguing couple, Kane said. "We don't know who they were and they may not be connected."

Kane said he would like to find those people, as well as anyone else who may have heard "any words, tones of voice, any description of loudness. We'd like to hear what was said, any combination of words."

Kane said "it sounds like we're reaching, but these details may be important."

Witnesses reported hearing more arguing at the intersection of East Rock and Edgehill roads, not far from 750 Whitney St., Kane said, and then some screams. There were holiday parties going on in the neighborhood, Kane said, and some witnesses were not sure if the screams were the result of play or duress.

A doctor walking in the neighborhood found Jovin near that intersection at 9:55 p.m. suffering from multiple stab wounds.

"She was still alive, still breathing, but nobody else was around," Kane said.

No one knows how Jovin traveled the approximately two miles from Phelps Gate to the intersection in a matter of minutes.

As the doctor's companion ran to get his phone to call for help, Kane said a vehicle stopped and someone inside asked the doctor if she needed help. The doctor saw two young children inside the car, thanked the driver and declined the aid. Kane said perhaps the driver of that car saw something that night.

Kane also said that just before the 911 call was placed, someone reported seeing a car near where Jovin was found. But by the time the doctor found Jovin, no car was there.

Jovin was later pronounced dead at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Kane also asked the crowd to focus on another clue, what he called "the running man," a man seen running north on Whitney Avenue, across from a church. A motorist said the man was running fast and, at one point, jumped over a fence, Kane said.

Jovin had helped out with a pizza party for the Best Buddies program of New Haven earlier that evening and had keys to a van she had rented from the university and needed to return. Kane said Jovin had told friends she did not plan to go out that night after the party.

Officials handed out a questionnaire at the meeting with a series of questions, including one that hinted at why Jovin may have been out the night she was killed. Authorities asked if anyone knew to whom Jovin had loaned graduate entrance exam materials and where the person may have lived. Jovin had written an e-mail to a friend promising to return the study materials to her the next morning after she got them back from an unnamed person.

In the e-mail, written in German at 9:02 p.m. on Dec. 4, 1998, Jovin told her friend she would leave the materials in the foyer of her apartment and gave the friend the security code to the apartment so she could enter.

Kane said Jovin may have been out retrieving those materials the night she was killed.

"There was an effort to get them back," Kane said. "Was that the reason she went out that night?"

In 2006, the Jovin investigation was turned over to the cold-case unit of the chief state's attorney's office after New Haven police, the state forensics laboratory, federal agencies and private investigators hired by Yale and Jovin's family failed to solve the crime.

No one in attendance Thursday offered any new clues publicly. Some asked about DNA evidence and whether Jovin — who had written a senior research paper on Osama bin Laden — may have been a victim of a terrorist attack. Kane declined to talk about evidence, sticking only to his plea for any and all information about the last minutes of Jovin's life.

At the end of the meeting, Kane turned to the audience and told them he hoped to return to the East Rock neighborhood someday with some good news.

"I'd love to meet again and say, 'Here's the real story,'" Kane said. "I want nothing more before I get buried than to look at you people and say, 'Here's what happened.'"

Copyright © 2014, Hartford Courant

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