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   PastimesMurder 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
   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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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1353)12/7/2014 1:01:21 PM
From: SI Dmitry (code monkey)
   of 1390
Dear Jeffrey,

Would you please upload an appropriate logo for this Subject?

Thank you.


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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1353)12/7/2014 9:04:16 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 12/4/2014 - WTNH TV: Police seek new leads in killing of Yale student

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1355)12/7/2014 9:09:03 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 12/5/2014 - CBS News: Yale Student Murder Mystery

Yale murder mystery: Witnesses sought in 1998 killing of student
By ERIN DONAGHUECBS/AP December 4, 2014, 2:54 PM


NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Investigators are asking the public to come forward with information in the haunting unsolved 1998 killing of Yale University student Suzanne Jovin, sixteen years ago today.

Police plan to hold a community meeting in New Haven Thursday in an attempt to glean any information from people who may have lived in the area at the time. Jovin was stabbed to death about two miles from campus.

Jovin, 21, was a senior majoring in political science and international studies when she was found mortally wounded, suffering from 17 stab wounds on East Rock Road around 9:55 p.m,. Dec. 4, 1998, reports the New Haven Register. Authorities aren't sure where she was killed.

The murder shocked the close-knit community and drew the national spotlight. 16 years later, no arrests have been made.

At the time of the killing, several witnesses said they heard a man and a woman having a heated argument outside the Eli Whitney Luxury Apartments about 20 minutes before the 911 call reporting that Jovin had been stabbed, Jack Edwards, chief investigator on the case for the Connecticut Chief State's Attorney, told 48 Hours' Crimesider.

Another couple was seen leaving the building and walking past them, Edwards said.

According to witnesses, the argument lasted several minutes and took place about 200 yards from where Jovin was found, Edwards said.

The information from the witnesses isn't new, but police are hoping to use the anniversary of Jovin's death to spotlight the case and ask the public for help verifying the account, Edwards said.

"We're trying to find out if any of those people may remember that night," Edwards said. "It's a little bit vague - it would be important for us to locate any of these people."

Edwards wouldn't go into detail on who placed the 911 call, but said they were credible witnesses and police have ruled them out as suspects.

Authorities aren't expected to provide specific details of the investigation at the meeting, but will provide an update on the progress on the investigation and detail the timeline of Jovin's movements before her murder, reports the Register.

Jovin reportedly volunteered that night at the Best Buddies group at Trinity Lutheran Church, returned to her apartment on Park Street, and then walked to Yale's Phelps Gate to return the keys to the Yale vehicle she borrowed for the gathering. She was last seen leaving Phelps Gate around 9:25 p.m, reports the paper.

What happened next remains a mystery.

Suspects have been named over the years, though none have panned out. A Yale instructor who was once the prime suspect was cleared last year and settled a lawsuit with New Haven and Yale, reports the paper.

The case is being investigated by the Jovin Investigation Team, comprised of New Haven police, the Division of Criminal Justice, Connecticut's Office of Chief State's Attorney Cold Case Unit and the Office of the New Haven State's Attorney, reports the paper.

Anyone with information is asked to call the tipline at 1-866-623-8058 or email Connecticut has offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction, and Yale University has reportedly pledged another $100,000.


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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1356)12/13/2014 2:00:38 AM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
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

Suzanne Jovin

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 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 or 203-680-9345.

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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1357)1/18/2015 12:36:59 AM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 1/17/2015 - New Haven Register: Randall Beach: Many trying to solve the mystery of who killed Suzanne Jovin
Randall Beach: Many trying to solve the mystery of who killed Suzanne Jovin

Jeff Mitchelll at the Phelps Gate entrance to Yale University’s Old Campus. (Arnold Gold — New Haven Register)

POSTED: 01/17/15, 5:18 PM EST | UPDATED: 57 SECS AGO


Suzanne Jovin

Jeff Mitchell and I met for our interview last Wednesday morning at Yale’s Phelps Gate, a place with special meaning for this man, who has spent 16 years trying to find out who killed Yale student Suzanne Jovin.

Mitchell took me inside Yale’s “Old Campus” quad and pointed to a spot in the middle of the courtyard.

“That’s where she spoke with Peter Stein,” Mitchell noted.

Stein, a classmate of Jovin’s, later would tell police that she told him she was going to the Yale Police substation at Phelps Gate to turn in the keys to a university car. She had used the vehicle that night to help out at a Best Buddies charity party.

Jovin, a 21-year-old senior, dropped off the keys at about 9:20 p.m. on her last night, Dec. 4, 1998.

Mitchell and I turned left out the gateway onto College Street, where she was last seen walking, toward Elm Street.

Where Jovin went after that, who she was with and how she ended up about 30 minutes later lying mortally wounded near the corner of East Rock Road and Edgehill Road about two miles away, remains unknown.

Mitchell says it’s “a mystery” he is driven to solve.

He and I share a keen interest in this case and both of us are frustrated that the killer has not been found. For each of us, it’s personal. Jovin died in my neighborhood, about four blocks from my house; Mitchell’s longtime friend, James Van de Velde, was named as a suspect soon afterward.

When I first interviewed Mitchell at his home in Westport in 2002, Van de Velde was still listed as a suspect and Mitchell was trying to dig up information that would implicate somebody else and clear his old high school friend.

At least that’s my belief about Mitchell’s motivation. But last week he told me, “This was never about clearing Jim’s name. It was about: there was a murder and somebody has to be brought to justice for that.”

Finally, in 2013, Van de Velde reached a legal settlement with Yale University and t he city of New Haven in his lawsuit which claimed they wrongly singled him out and damaged his reputation. He had been Jovin’s instructor and adviser at Yale; university officials did not renew his contract after he was named a suspect in the case.

After the settlement was reached, State’s Attorney Michael Dearington said Van de Velde was no longer a suspect.

“There was never any evidence against Jim,” Mitchell told me. “No motive, no blood, no fiber. Nothing at all.”

Mitchell, a self-employed entrepreneur, said he regularly devotes “lots and lots of hours” to working on this case.

As Mitchell and I walked down College Street, he demonstrated the logical thinking he says he always employs when trying to figure out the case. He was rebutting a theory that somebody stalked Jovin, following her as she walked and then abducting her.

“How do you stalk somebody when you’re in a car?” he asked. If the stalker was on foot and then forced her into a vehicle, Mitchell added, how would the perpetrator have known where she was going and where to have parked his vehicle so that she could quickly be pushed inside?

We walked a half-block on College Street, then turned left onto Elm Street. Mitchell has theorized that this continued to be the route Jovin took that night because it has been reported a Fresca bottle with her fingerprints on it was found near her body on East Rock Road. Mitchell determined through his research that the Krauszer’s near the corner of Elm and York streets was the only place in the area that sold Fresca in bottles. (Stein said she was not carrying the bottle when they spoke.)

The Krauszer’s is no longer there but Mitchell noted as we stood on its former site that vehicles now, as well as in December 1998, could legally park in front of that building. He also pointed up Elm Street toward Park Street, where Jovin lived; he said in 1998 the strip was “dangerous,” with at least one boarded-up building.

Mitchell noted these facts because it was long his theory that Jovin was randomly abducted by several people in a vehicle in that area. He had theorized they were seeking money or sex, became enraged when she resisted, stabbed her repeatedly and dumped her body on East Rock Road.

But as we walked up Elm Street last week, Mitchell told me his random abduction theory, although still possible, is “now less possible.”

Over the past several years, Mitchell and several other citizen investigators have been looking into the possibility that Jovin was killed by a mentally disturbed Yale School of Architecture student.

As I reported in December 2012, Gilles Carter, an East Rock resident who knew that troubled man at Princeton, reported to authorities his concerns after conferring with two other Princeton alumni.

This group compared the man’s college yearbook photo with a police sketch police released based on the description of a female motorist who on the night of Jovin’s slaying saw a man running wildly on Whitney Avenue, close to the crime scene. Carter and his friends said the “running man” closely resembled that troubled graduate student, who had been a runner in school and often wore a green jacket, as did the runner on Whitney Avenue.

Moreover, Carter said that one day in October 2011, the man showed up at his doorstep in a “hyper-agitated state” and told him, “I am obsessed with the murder of Suzanne Jovin.”

Whenever that man felt a woman had rejected him, Carter said, he flew into a rage.

A year after that conversation, the young man died in what appeared to be a suicide.

Mitchell told me he wants to be clear there is no evidence Jovin knew that man; Mitchell admits this man could have nothing to do with her death. But he said that person “fills in a lot of holes” in the puzzle.

Mitchell recently emailed Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane, who oversees the cold case unit investigating the Jovin homicide and many others. Mitchell asked to be shown a photo of the murder weapon to see from the knife’s tip if it’s an X-Acto, the type used by architecture students.

Mitchell, who told me he has spoken with many of the witnesses in the Jovin case, added, “I know as much as anybody anywhere about it, outside of the police.”

He said another expert on the case is David Cameron, a Yale professor of political science and a member of the state’s Eyewitness Identification Task Force. “I share everything I know with David. He, I and Jim (Van de Velde) have been sharing information for 16 years. We test each other’s theories, debating what makes sense and what doesn’t.”

Mitchell added, “Jim has worked pretty much every day from the start to help find the real killer.”

Van de Velde now lives near Washington, D.C., doing government consultant work.

When I asked Cameron about Mitchell, he said, “Jeff has been seriously committed to trying to figure out how to solve this case for a long time. He’s had some ideas that have been useful to the investigators.”

Although Mitchell passes along to the cold case unit any leads he develops through his many contacts, he wants to meet with those investigators (joined by Cameron, Carter and other private citizens deeply involved in the Jovin case) and share everybody’s knowledge. “Let’s come together and get this thing solved.”

When I asked Kane about this, he said, “Sometimes people (with information on cases) call and ask to meet with us and occasionally we will.” He added, “We appreciate any ideas. But sometimes they want information back and that’s difficult. There’s a risk that details known only to the offender or witnesses might be released.” (Police refer to this as “contaminating” evidence.)

As for Mitchell’s request to see a photo of the knife, Kane said, “I won’t comment on any specifics on what we might or might not do.”

Meanwhile, Mitchell said, “I’ll do everything I can for as long as I can, to get this solved.”

His email address is The contact information for the Jovin tips line is or 1-866-623-8058.

Contact Randall Beach at or 203-680-9345.

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From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell1/21/2015 3:20:23 AM
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To: Jeffrey S. Mitchell who wrote (1342)3/14/2015 1:07:09 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Re: 3/13/2015 - New Haven Register: Connecticut man pleads guilty to threatening judge

Connecticut man pleads guilty to threatening judge

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo, New Haven Register

POSTED: 03/13/15, 5:44 PM EDT |

HARTFORD >> A 35-year-old man accused of mailing threatening letters to prominent officials such as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, judges and forensic scientist Henry Lee pleaded guilty Friday to one of the counts against him.

Garrett Santillo, who was living in Hollywood, Florida, at the time of his arrest last fall, has been undergoing mental health treatment since then, according to statements made at his plea hearing in U.S. District Court.

Santillo pleaded guilty to one count of mailing a threatening communication.

While the charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, federal sentencing guidelines call for him to get between 30 and 37 months in prison and a fine of between $5,000 and $50,000.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson, who presided over the plea hearing, is scheduled to sentence Santillo, who had lived in Torrington before moving to Florida, on May 27.

Santillo’s attorney, Federal Public Defender Paul Thomas, said his client has been undergoing treatment at Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown since November, and that he is competent to understand the court proceedings. Thomas is expected to argue for a sentence below the federal guidelines.

The count Santillo pleaded guilty to dealt with a threat against U.S. District Judge Robert Chatigny.

“When I mailed the letter to Judge Chatigny, it wasn’t meant to be taken literally,” Santillo said in court. “I didn’t have good anger-management skills.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Dayton said that, at the time Santillo wrote the letters, he had to know a reasonable person would feel threatened.

Dayton described some of the threatening letters in court.

The letter to Chatigny was mailed to his home address; he received it July 15, 2014. The letter was postmarked July 11 from Miami, Florida, but didn’t have a return address.

It demanded that Chatigny issue a ruling vindicating James Van de Velde of any involvement in the 1998 unsolved murder of Yale University student Suzanne Jovin. Van de Velde is not considered a suspect in the slaying.

“You (sic) home addresses in Conn. are public information and if you mask your identity by name or appearance, we can still track you to wherever you go and will kill you if you don’t follow what this letter instructs,” the letter said, court documents show.

About 14 other individuals in Connecticut received letters containing death threats, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. All were handwritten and mailed from the Miami area to victims’ home addresses. They contained demands for action and threatened death if the recipient failed to comply.

An August 2014 letter to Malloy stated he would be killed for signing a bill ending the death penalty in Connecticut, court documents show. Santillo also wrote that the death penalty must be imposed on those convicted of the Cheshire home invasion murders by 2016 or “we will kill multiple people at random,” court documents show.

The letter to Lee demanded he solve cases he has investigated, including the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, and ensure the killers are incarcerated in tough prisons, or “you and others you know will be killed by ways no FBI or even God will be able to STOP!”

Santillo acknowledged in court that when he wrote the letters he knew they could be perceived as threats.

Santillo indicated Friday he wasn’t able to stop himself.

A grand jury indicted Santillo in September, and authorities went to his Florida residence on Sept. 29, 2014. Santillo made a statement about killing himself and moved out of the officers’ sight, prompting them to go through a window and use a Taser on him, documents show.

When police searched his residence, they found unsent handwritten letters, including one to President Barack Obama in which Santillo threatened to kill the president.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, the other counts against Santillo will be dropped, according to Dayton.

Thompson told Santillo his conviction means he won’t be able to possess any firearms.

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From: paul ross3/18/2015 6:01:04 AM
   of 1390
I used to post here in beginning of thread...has this idea been brought up on the thread (article is old, 2007)..ran into article researching Mary knew JVdV...could he have gotten in too la 3 Days of the Condor?.......had a security level 5 levels above top secret.......

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To: paul ross who wrote (1361)3/20/2015 3:06:56 PM
From: Jeffrey S. Mitchell
   of 1390
Paul, back in 1998, the prevailing assumption was that the NHPD knew something they were not telling the rest of us. As time went on, as cops involved with the case were either disciplined or fired, it became apparent they had botched the investigation from day one. After the lawsuit by the "only named suspect" was brought, we learned that their entire case was based on nothing more than a hunch-- a hunch based on not a single piece of evidence. I liked the Giants' draft last year and had a hunch they'd return to the Super Bowl, but I certainly didn't bet my house on it and twist every Giant loss as evidence my hunch was obviously right.

If you read back over the last year's worth of posts, you'll see we have a pretty good lead on who killed her. The problem is that we have no clue if our suggestions are being acted upon. But from what we can tell, no, they are not.

- Jeff

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