|Re: 12/5/2015 - New Haven Register Editorial: 17 years later, Jovin investigators seek witnesses and questions persist|
Forum: 17 years later, Jovin investigators seek witnesses and questions persist
By David R. Cameron
POSTED: 12/05/15, 7:38 PM EST | UPDATED: 1 DAY AGO
Last Friday was Dec. 4, marking the 17th year that has passed since Suzanne Jovin, a Yale senior, was murdered near the intersection of Edgehill and East Rock Roads in New Haven shortly before 10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 4, 1998.
As they did last year, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane, Deputy Chief State’s Attorney John J. Russotto and Chief Inspector John T. Edwards have reached out to the public for possible witnesses to come forward. In particular, they hope to hear from:
— The man and woman who walked past another man and woman who were arguing as they left the front entrance of an apartment building at 750 Whitney Ave., at the corner of Whitney and East Rock, around 9:30 p.m. that evening;
— Anyone who heard or saw a man and woman arguing on East Rock, or heard a woman’s screams, soon thereafter;
— A woman, possibly a health care worker, who took a taxi from the 300 block of Blatchley Avenue around 9:15 p.m. that went up East Rock on its way to Newhallville;
— Anyone who saw a man and a woman standing near a light-colored, mid-sized four-door vehicle parked at the curb on East Rock near Edgehill with the driver’s side front door open and the headlights and interior lights on.
— The woman driving a dark-colored car with two children who turned from Edgehill onto East Rock heading toward Whitney, saw another woman — a medical resident who had been walking up East Rock with a friend — who was tending to Suzanne and asked if she needed help.
Seventeen years later, the question remains: Who killed Suzanne Jovin?
The answer may depend on the answer to another question: Why was she in that vicinity, almost two miles from the Yale campus, at that time of the evening?
It seems unlikely she walked to the area; that would have taken about a half-hour and she had run into a classmate on Yale’s Old Campus around 9:20 p.m. — only a half-hour before she was attacked — and had said she was very tired. No doubt she was indeed very tired; she had been up almost all night the night before working on her senior research paper and had just returned from a pizza-making party at the Trinity Lutheran Church on Orange Street that she and the other members of the Yale Best Buddies program had organized for their Buddies.
But if she didn’t walk there, how did she get there? Who drove her, where did she get into the vehicle, why did she go if she was indeed very tired, and where did they get out of the vehicle?
After wrapping up the pizza-making party, 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, Suzanne said she had lent the materials to “someone” but would get them back and leave them in the entryway to her apartment. The “someone” who borrowed the GRE materials from her has never come forward and has not been identified.
After dropping off the keys and the form around 9:20 p.m., Suzanne went out Phelps Gate to College Street and was seen walking north toward Elm Street by a female student who had been at the Yale-Princeton hockey game and was going to a party at the Taft apartments. A half-hour later and 2 miles away, she was attacked, stabbed 17 times in the back and neck, presumably by the man with whom she had been arguing as they walked up East Rock and approached Edgehill.
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.
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 Avenue. The “running man” has never come forward and has not been identified.
Did the “running man” murder Suzanne? Was he perhaps the unknown “someone” who borrowed the GRE materials from her? Whether or not he was the “someone” who borrowed the GRE materials, was he the man seen arguing with the woman outside the front entrance of 750 Whitney Ave. and soon thereafter as they walked up East Rock? Was he also the man who was seen standing with a woman by the car parked on East Rock near Edgehill with the driver’s door open and the headlights on? If so, what became of the car? Did he go back and get it? When?
Law enforcement in Connecticut is committed at the highest level to bringing the murderer of Suzanne Jovin to justice. But in order to do that, the state’s Cold Case Unit needs the assistance of the public. In addition to the witnesses mentioned above, the investigation needs information that might shed light on the identity of the person to whom Suzanne lent the GRE materials and the identity of the “running man.” Anyone with information should contact the Cold Case Unit, either by calling its toll-free tip line, 1-866-623-8058, or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by surface 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.