08-29-2016, 01:20 PM #1
CT - Warren Tarkington, 76, & Gladys Punch, 72, New Haven, 5 Sept 1994If you have any information regarding this case, please contact the Connecticut Cold Case Unit toll-free at 1-866-623-8058, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by U.S. mail at P.O. Box 862, Rocky Hill, CT 06067.
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Last edited by beach; 09-01-2016 at 10:10 AM. Reason: add contact info & photos
08-29-2016, 01:42 PM #2
NEW HAVEN REGISTER West Haven
Tue, 06 Sep 1994
A bloody holiday; Couple gunned down at W. Haven cemeteryA brother and sister in their 70s were shot to death at St. Lawrence Cemetery Monday moments after placing flowers on the woman's husband's grave.
The victims were gunned down just before 3 p.m. only a couple of hundred feet from houses on Oak Road off busy Forest Road in what police believe was abrazen double homicide.
Police identified the victims as Gladys Punch, 72, of West Haven, and Warren Tarkington,76, of Queens, N.Y. They were visiting the grave of Punch's husband, police said.
Police late Monday released descriptions of two suspects who were spotted leaving the scene. They said the motive may have been robbery.
The suspects were described as black males, both about five feet, eight inches tall and 17 to 20 years old. One had a stocky build, while the other was thin, police said.
No pocketbook or money was found on Punch, whose street address was not available. A wallet containing an undisclosed amount of money was found on Tarkington. "Anything is possible," said Police Chief Michael Kelly.
They were the first homicide victims in the city this year, police said.Kelly said someone visiting the cemetery on the Labor Day holiday found the victims and called 911. Tarkington was dead when officers arrived, while the woman died at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Kelly said.
Tarkington was shot in the head and Punch in the back, Kelly said. Neighbors reported hearing three shots and detectives found three bullet casings on the ground.
An autopsy at the state Medical Examiner's office in Farmington will be performed today,Kelly said.
A blue Pontiac that Kelly said was registered to one of the victims was parked on the drive only a few feet from the bodies. Police combed the car and grounds near the bodies for evidence.
"There is some physical evidence," Kelly said, but he would not specify what investigators found.
Kelly said the distance between the bodies and the fact that no weapon was found led investigators to all but rule out the possibility that a murder-suicide had taken place.
Kelly said they believe the assailants used a "mid-caliber" weapon.
"The entire setup is not indicative of a murder-suicide," he said.Fresh flowers on the grave of Punch's husband indicated the victims were in the cemetery on Labor Day to pay their respects when they were attacked, police said.
Tarkington was shot at close range, Kelly said. He was not sure about Punch. The shootings probably took place only "a matter of minutes" before the passerby found the victims, he said.
Armestine Graham, of 22 Oak Road, said she heard two rapid shots and then a third shot about 15 to 30 seconds later while she was in her home. "I heard three shots and I walked to the door and looked in the direction where the shots came from," she said. "I thought I would see a car leaving or hear someone calling for help, but I didn't see a thing."
There was no evidence that the victims struggled with their assailant, Kelly said.
Last edited by beach; 08-29-2016 at 02:12 PM. Reason: attach pdf
08-29-2016, 07:29 PM #3Killings shatter feeling of security -
"Neighborhood is frightened" after brutal killing of siblings
"Unnecessarily brutal" crime took lives of 2 gentle people
Killings at cemetery: Cops seek pair for questioning in death of sister and brother
(NHR 1994.09.07 correction)
Gladys Punch fell in love with her husband, Eugene, during World War II while she was
a U.S. Navy nurse and he was a serviceman under her care, recovering from malaria. More than 40 years and countless acts of kindness later, Gladys Punch, 74, was gunned down Monday in broad daylight, along with her brother while she loyally tended to Eugene's grave in St. Lawrence Cemetery.
Punch, a trim and active woman who spent much of her time helping other senior citizens who couldn't get around as well, died of a single gunshot wound to the neck, according to a spokeswoman at the state medical examiner's office. Tarkington, a tall, heavy-set man who was on one of his occasional visits from New York, this time to celebrate his sister's birthday, died of a gunshot wound to the head.
"Tarkington was retired from a career working on oil tankers and loved the big city, often referring to Connecticut as "the country," Purvis said. "He was a tough,independent cookie," she said.
Cops asking public to help find killer
Police said the killings occurred during an apparent robbery "of opportunity" during which Punch's purse, believed to contain little cash, was taken. Tarkington's wallet, holding $200 to $300, was found on his body, police said. Investigators have not recovered the murder weapon or purse.
Punch, an active woman, walked with a cane because of poor hips. She was shot from behind as she apparently tried to flee, Casey said. "It's such a heinous crime," said Casey, who has conducted dozens of serious crime investigations.
Relatives and friends of Punch said she visited her husband's grave faithfully every other day, even though she had come to terms with her widowhood. Before Eugene Punch died two years ago from Alzheimer's disease, Gladys Punch, a retired nurse, spent years taking care of him at home, refusing to send him to a nursing home. The two met during World War II when both were in the Navy. They fell in love while she was helping to nurse him back to health from malaria.
Last edited by beach; 08-30-2016 at 12:06 PM.
08-29-2016, 10:24 PM #4Search for suspects in slaying continues
In the relentless search for suspects in the killings of an elderly brother and sister at a West Haven cemetery, police Thursday questioned many, including two New Haven brothers who were briefly taken into custody. But once the two were released Thursday afternoon, West Haven Detective Sgt.Walter Casey said police were no closer to solving the brutal Monday slayings of Gladys Punch, 74, and her brother, Warren Tarkington, 76.
A DAY FOR GRIEVING; West Haven service recalls slain woman
"It's ironic but Gladys was seeking to grieve and find her husband and she found him in the most intimate way," the Rev. Mark S. Suslenko told 100 relatives and friends Friday at a memorial service at Our Lady of Victory Church. ". . . He (her husband) was on that shore waiting for her." Loyalty and love for her husband of more than 40 years had brought Punch to the cemetery every other day since his death two years ago from Alzheimer's disease.
Cemetery visitors more wary since siblings killed
State Rep. Raymond Collins, R-West Haven, has asked Chief State's Attorney John Bailey to ask Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. to approve up to $20,000 for a reward for their arrest and conviction. "These murders have horrified not only the family and friends of the victims, but also citizens throughout the state," Collins said in a press release. "Offering a reward for the arrest and conviction of the persons responsible could help solve this crime and bring some small sense of justice and peace to those close to the victims."
Last edited by beach; 08-29-2016 at 10:28 PM.
08-30-2016, 11:29 AM #5Cemetery killings still hard to comprehend; Police have little to say on probe
The victims' sister, Evelyn Kolb of New Jersey, said she can't get the cemetery scenario out of her mind - speculating over and over about what actually happened that day.
Knowing the personalities of her siblings, Kolb believes the robbers approached with guns pulled, asked for money and met with resistance from Tarkington, the type who would "fight to the end." There was physical evidence in the form of powder burns that Tarkington grabbed the physically by bad hips - to try to runaway.
In Kolb's scenario, Tarkington, a burly man with a 52-inch waist, was then shot twice in the face. Punch, a slim woman, was shot in the back and the assailant or assailants probably grabbed her purse before fleeing, Kolb said.
Reward offered in W. Haven slayings
Police Commissioner Alex Botte put his money where his heart is Friday by offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who gives police information that leads to a conviction in a double murder at St. Lawrence Cemetery. Botte's gesture of reaching into his own pocket is unprecedented - and potentially quite helpful - police officials say, in a case that appears to hinge on missing pieces.
Mayor H. Richard Borer Jr. called Botte's offer Friday "very generous" and said he hoped the governor will soon approve a $10,000 to $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect or suspects.
08-30-2016, 12:01 PM #6Cops meet on links in cemetery crimes
West Haven and Hamden detectives met Thursday to determine whether a gunman who robbed a couple of their car and cash at a Hamden cemetery is the same person being sought for the Labor Day slayings of two siblings at a West Haven cemetery.
Teen held in robbery of couple at cemetery; Lived near scene:
Suspect faces charges in Hamden and in city
A young man suspected of using a gun to rob a couple visiting a relative's grave last month was behind bars Thursday night. [RJS], 18, whose last known address was on Warner Street, was charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree larceny, criminal use of a firearm and threatening. He was being held in lieu of $5,500 bond at the state jail on Whalley Avenue in New Haven Thursday evening. The robbery occurred Nov. 30. The couple's car and other valuables were taken at Beth El Keser Israel Memorial Park Cemetery.
The suspect, police said, approached the Florida couple from behind, pulled out a handgun and demanded the keys to their tan 1993 Toyota Camry four times before they finally handed them over. He also made off with the couple's wallets, credit cards, coats and $100 in cash. The suspect, Perry said, later ransacked the car and took several items, including a 35mm camera.
Teen held in car theft not a suspect in slayings
West Haven police questioned the teen accused of stealing a car at gunpoint from an elderly couple visiting a grave in Hamden last month, but do not believe he is a suspect in a September double murder at a West Haven cemetery.
09-01-2016, 10:31 AM #7A year later, killings unsolved;
Cops hope for a break in West Haven cemetery slayings
Cemetery group is sued over 2 killings
(NHR 1995.09.02 - estates file suit)
The estates of an elderly brother and sister killed a year ago as they visited a grave in St. Lawrence Cemetery are suing the Catholic Cemetery Association for failing to protect its visitors.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in New Haven, charges the association, part of the Archdiocese of Hartford, failed to provide a safe place to visit, security protection and warning of danger. Negligence and carelessness on the part of the association led to the deaths, the suit claims. "When you bury a (loved) one, it's implicit you're invited to come back and grieve. And a lot of the bereaved are elderly," said New Haven attorney Donald G. Walsh Sr., who filed the lawsuit. Walsh said he will show that there had been numerous incidents of robbery and attacks in the cemetery and in other area cemeteries run by the association prior to the shooting The association oversees about 30 cemeteries.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Punch and Tarkington seeks more than $15,000 in damages.
09-01-2016, 11:09 AM #8Victim confronts robber at West Haven cemetery
(NHR 1995.09.02 - similar robbery attempt)
A shocking comment blurted out by an 87-year-old widower while he was being robbed at his wife's grave sent a suspect running this week, although the robber's next victim wasn't so lucky. When the elderly man was confronted Thursday in St. Lawrence Cemetery by a man who claimed to have a gun, he grabbed the robber's wrist, looked him in the eye and said: "I'm 87 years old, I lost my wife a year ago - shoot me." No one knows if the suspect, now in custody, was shocked or touched, but he told the widower: "Let go of me and I'll leave."
The suspect Thursday kept his promise and fled, but less than three hours later, allegedly knocked down, robbed and stole the car of a 75-year-old woman walking to her car in Naugatuck Valley Mall in Waterbury.
The attempted robbery in St. Lawrence Cemetery came only days before the one-year anniversary of the brutal double-slaying of an elderly brother and sister in the cemetery on Labor Day 1994. Both Thursday's incident and the slayings occurred during daylight in the sprawling cemetery between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Cops still work cemetery case; A year later, clues scarce in double murder
West Haven detectives Bernard Elliott, left,and Walter Casey looked at the
spot where Gladys Punch and Warren Tarkington were killed on Labor Day 1994.
Police detectives, frustrated by a year-long search for the killer of an elderly brother and sister in St. Lawrence Cemetery, are waging a battle against their greatest enemy. Time. The detectives know the chance of solving the crime grows slimmer as the months drift by. Memories fade. People stop talking. And a murderer walks free.
Police returned one more time to the scene of the crime Monday in hopes of finding a
clue or a lead. Labor Day marked the one year anniversary of the shooting of Gladys Punch, 74, of West Haven and her brother Warren Tarkington, 76, of New York.
A police cruiser was stationed at each of the cemetery's entrances. People visiting graves were asked if they were there one year ago, and if so, if they remembered seeing anything out of the ordinary.
09-01-2016, 11:22 AM #9Crime is still a concern at West Haven cemetery
09-01-2016, 11:35 AM #10Reward offered in '94 cemetery slayings
The state has authorized a $20,000 reward in the latest attempt to solve the 1994 murders of an elderly brother and sister at St. Lawrence Cemetery. That raises the total reward for information leading to a conviction in the double homicide to $25,000. Board of Police Commission member Alex Botte has offered $5,000 of his own since shortly after the Labor Day 1994 murders.
When an investigation stalls, police may apply to the state for a reward, State's Attorney Mary Galvin said Monday. City police Chief Michael J. Kelly recently requested a reward in the case and Gov. John G. Rowland granted the request last week, Galvin said. "We're hoping someone comes forward so we can solve the case," she said. "It is frustrating that it hasn't been solved.
09-01-2016, 11:48 AM #11Purse stolen from woman at St. Lawrence Cemetery
W. Haven murders baffling; Police follow new leads in '94 cemetery slayings
Though it's been three years since an elderly brother and sister were killed in broad daylight at St. Lawrence Cemetery, the trail for investigators has not grown cold. Last week police received another tip and began pursuing the new lead in a cruel case that frustrates seasoned investigators.
09-01-2016, 06:49 PM #12Cemetery lawsuit alleges lax security; 2 murdered in '94:
Killings could have been averted, lawyer says
A pattern of crime began at St. Lawrence Cemetery up to 20 years before two elderly siblings were murdered there in 1994, said a lawyer pursuing what he believes is a precedent-setting lawsuit against a cemetery.
Walsh said nearly two years of research uncovered more than 100 reports of incidents at the sprawling cemetery off Derby Avenue. Sworn testimony given by a police officer as part of the lawsuit investigation shows that in the early 1970s police asked cemetery officials to increase security, but apparently no action was taken, Walsh said
Stratford eyes tie to slayings in W. Haven cemetery; Man, 64, robbed;
2 killed in 1994
Detectives are working with West Haven police to find links between Sunday's graveside robbery and the cemetery murder of two people in West Haven three years ago. In the Stratford incident, police said [RA], 64, of Bridgeport, was on his knees Sunday morning in St. Michael's Cemetery, praying at the grave of a relative, when a male wearing a ski mask jumped out of a red and brown van and demanded money.Police said the gunman stole the man's wallet and fled.
Missing man linked to cemetery slayings
On the fourth anniversary today of the killing of an elderly brother and sister at St. Lawrence Cemetery, some investigators fear their best chance of solving the murders has slipped away. The man who may have been able to tell police who shot Gladys Punch, 74, and her brother, Warren Tarkington, 76, may himself be dead, sources said.
Jerry Dolphin of New Haven, last seen in October 1994, is believed to have been a witness or to have information about who the gunman was in a case considered one of the most heinous in West Haven’s history, sources said. Dolphin, then 20, disappeared only weeks after Punch and Tarkington were gunned down in broad daylight on Sept. 5, 1994, at the sprawling cemetery off Derby Avenue. Some investigators believe Dolphin also is the victim of a homicide, carried out to keep him quiet.
Even a $50,000 reward offered by the state this April has not uncovered information leading to Dolphin, who also is labeled a fugitive in an incident not connected to the double slaying. ‘‘They think they know who did this’’ cemetery killing, one source familiar with the investigation said. ‘‘There just isn’t proof yet, without (Dolphin).’’
09-01-2016, 07:43 PM #13Cemetery on trial in visitors' killings
In the suit, the estates of Punch and Tarkington claim the Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Archdiocese of Hartford ignored a pattern of crime at the Derby Avenue cemetery and failed to provide adequate protection to visitors. "They didn't spend five cents on security until these two people were killed," said the plaintiff's attorney, Donald G. Walsh Sr. of New Haven. "Talk about arrogance and deceit." Cemetery officials have declined to comment about the allegations in the past.
Walsh said he expects to begin the evidence portion of the trial next week and will call 30 to 40 witnesses, including several victims of crimes at the cemetery. The first witness is expected to testify about a 1987 sexual assault against her there.
Families reach civil suit settlement in cemetery murder case
The families of a sister and brother gunned down at a West Haven cemetery marked the sixth anniversary of the murders Tuesday by settling a civil lawsuit that accused the Catholic Cemeteries Association of negligence and failing to provide proper security. Lawyers for the families and the association would not disclose the amount of the settlement. Donald G. Walsh Sr., a New Haven lawyer representing the families, said his clients are "well satisfied."
Police seek Lee's help in '94 cemetery killings
Every morning, a cold case file about one of the city's most heinous crimes — the 1994 Labor Day homicides of an elderly brother and sister visiting Saint Lawrence Cemetery — greets police Chief Ronald M. Quagliani when he sits at his office desk. "Every day, I come in and make sure I see this file because it reminds me how egregious this crime is," said Quagliani, who hopes to one day exact justice against the killers who struck Sept. 5, 1994.
The chief and the three investigators assigned to the case recently met with State's Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor of the Ansonia-Milford judicial district and decided to ask the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science at the University of New Haven to review the case.
Police hope to capitalize on scientific techniques that didn't exist 13 years ago to help solve the case.
"We continually work on these cases. They just don't go in a drawer," said Lawlor, who made cold cases a priority when he assumed his post one year ago. If the forensic institute takes the case, Quagliani said analysts would review the case's physical evidence. Techniques could include crime scene analysis, DNA analysis and biological evidence, as well as human identification, teleforensics and cyber crime detection.
09-04-2016, 12:48 PM #14
Such a sad case. Gladys' devotion to her husband during his illness and after his death was very touching. It must have been terribly difficult for the family to lose Gladys and Warren so suddenly and in such a senseless violent way.
09-05-2016, 11:35 AM #15
The disappearance of Jerry Dolphin and how, if at all, he may tie in with this case is interesting. Here's some more info on his case
.However, police believe that Dolphin's disappearance was unlawfully caused. Upon the request of New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington, in 1998, Governor John G. Rowland authorized a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the suspicious disappearance of Jerry Dolphin.
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