CT CT - Suzanne Jovin, 21, Yale student, New Haven, 4 Dec 1998

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by mysteriew, Dec 30, 2005.

  1. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    On Dec. 4, the investigation of the murder of Yale student Suzanne Jovin entered its eighth year.

    There is a cold case unit in the office of the chief state's attorney. Its mission is to work with the state police and local departments to investigate homicide cases that have gone unsolved for a long time. Yet after seven years, the unit still has not been brought into the Jovin investigation.

    But when asked in 2002 whether the unit should participate in the investigation, Chief State's Attorney Christopher L. Morano said his predecessor, John Bailey, and New Haven State's Attorney Michael Dearington had discussed the matter and decided it should not. He saw no reason to change that decision.

    When asked again for a recent Courant article, Morano said the unit would be willing to participate. But he said the New Haven police and local prosecutors haven't asked for assistance. Why not? If the state has resources that could assist the Jovin investigation, why aren't they being used?

    New Haven's continued control of the case may have biased the investigation toward certain theories about what happened - and certain suspects - and away from others. For several reasons, the police have operated on the assumption that Jovin knew the murderer and that he probably lived in the New Haven area. But what if she didn't know him? What if he lived outside New Haven?
    http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/op_ed/hc-cameron1230.artdec30,0,1989342.story
     
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  3. luthersmama

    luthersmama Active Member

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    Its a shame Greta and Nancy aren't devoting some attention to this case.
     
  4. aj1020

    aj1020 Inactive

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    New Clues in Yale Student Murder

    Investigators Release Sketch of Man Seen Near Where Suzanne Jovin's Body Was Found

    It's been nearly 10 years since Suzanne Jovin was stabbed to death near Yale University's campus, but investigators are still releasing new clues in the case.
    [​IMG]
    Slain Yale University student Suzanne Jovin in a photo released Dec. 8, 1998. Her throat had been slashed, and she had been stabbed repeatedly in the chest. At right is a sketch of a person of interest at the time of the crime.
    (AP Photo/Courtesy The Jovin Investigation Team )

    The team of retired detectives looking into Jovin's murder is now re-examining an old lead in the case and has circulated a sketch of a man seen running near the place her body was found.
    On Dec. 4, 1998, Jovin, a 21-year-old senior from Goettingen, Germany, was stabbed 17 times in the back and neck, with some defensive wounds on her arms, just a little more than a mile from the school's campus.

    much more at link...http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=5300434&page=1
     
  5. Lucy's mom

    Lucy's mom Member

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    http://www.wtnh.com/global/Story.asp?s=8686940


    New Haven (WTNH) -- A cold case unit investigating the 1998 murder of Yale student Suzanne Jovin are taking another look at an e-mail Jovin sent about an hour before she was murdered.

    In the e-mail Jovin mentioned she let a "someone" borrow some study notes, and that she would be picking up the notes before returning them to their rightful owner.

    Asst. State's Attorney James Clark told News Channel 8's Jodi Latina Thursday the e-mail is of great interest because investigators believe it was written within the hour of Jovin's death.
     
  6. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    On December 4th, 1998 Suzanne Jovin, a popular and serious student at Yale, had borrowed some reading materials from a classmate and that mate wanted those items back so Jovin emailed her and told her she had loaned the materials to someone but she would retrieve them. That was at 9:00pm. Before that she had spent the evening volunteering for the Best Buddies program which was a mentoring program. She used the campus car to drive some fellow volunteers home, went back to her dorm and that is when she sent the message to her friend about retrieving the materials from 'someone' she had loaned them to. She was seen again around 9:00pm by a friend she ran to while returning the car keys back to the campus car. The friend stated she was carrying some papers with her. The last time she was seen at 9:30ish by an acquaintence walking on College Street which was not the route she would take if she were going back to her dorm.
    15 minutes later and 2 miles away in an affluent area called East Rock near Yale there were reports of a man and woman arguing. 10 minutes after that a 911 call was made regarding a woman lying in the road. When police arrived they found Suzanne stabbed 17 times in the back, neck and head lying on her stomach, dead. There was a Fresca bottle located next to her body. The murder weapon has never been located but a piece of the knife of found stuck in her skull. Later, DNA was extracted from under her nails and it indicated that she had scratched her attacker.

    There is no way Suzanne could have walked that distance in the time between when she was last seen and the reports of the argument and subsequent murder. Last time she was seen the witnesses reported she was not carrying a Fresca bottle. Fresca was one of Suzanne's favorite soda's.

    <modsnip>

    Just an interesting note: It was 1998 and Suzanne's senior essay was about Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

    http://www.truecrimediary.com/index.cfm?page=cases&id=62

    Murder of Suzanne Jovin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    http://www.yaledailynews.com/articles/view/26824

    http://books.google.com/books?id=ME...num=11#v=onepage&q=suzanne jovin case&f=false
     
  7. Mr. E

    Mr. E New Member

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    Were they able to determine what kind of knife it was from the piece that brokeoff? They do that on CSI, but I don't know if it's possible in real life. I'm wondering why they think it wasn't planned if she was stabbed? Who carries around a knife? If it was in a home/kitchen I can see it, but in the street?
     
  8. txsvicki

    txsvicki Active Member

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    How awful that these folks heard an escalating argument but didn't go out and look and check on things. That guy's fingerprints wouldn't necessarily have to be on the fresca bottle if he had bought a six pack in the carry case and she got her own bottle out. The other fingerprint could be anyone's from the Coke man to the grocery store clerk's.
     
  9. reportertype

    reportertype Dogs are awesome!

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    I'm curious to know more about the knife. If it was some kind of folding knife, I can see someone perhaps carrying that. Maybe they had one in the car? They grabbed in and ran after her carrying when she got out?
     
  10. Lyn1001

    Lyn1001 In constant need of a nap

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    I thought of another explanation for just happening to have a knife with you. When I was about 17, we had taken my car on a youth group camping trip. My mother was one of the leaders and had a leased car, so she drove some of the group in my car. We had kitchen knives in the trunk of the car, wrapped up, along with lanterns and other camping stuff. I remember freaking out when I got in a car accident shortly after because we had not yet taken that stuff out of the trunk. So, although odd, it would be possible to have a large kitchen knife in your car.

    This is an interesting case. It's not often you hear about murders in the middle of the street in affluent neighborhoods.
     
  11. reportertype

    reportertype Dogs are awesome!

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    The knife in the car made me think of the "Death of a Cheerleader" case from California. In that case, the killer said she used a knife that her sister kept in the car to cut vegetables for lunch.

    But a camping knife is also a good idea. Maybe the car/van broke down at times and the knife was used to pry around in the engine? I know nothing about cars, just tossing it out.
     
  12. kemo

    kemo Active Member

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    The Suzanne Jovin case is interesting because it involves some very serious mistakes on the part of the New Haven PD. The first error was that they did not translate from German, the last email she sent (within an hour of her death). The email said that she was going to retrieve some "study notes" from a "friend". They were unaware of this for six years.

    The second error was to focus on a "prime suspect" and ignore evidence that didn't point towards him. Van De Velde was a good POI but there was never any serious evidence against him. As far as I can tell, his "suspicious behavior" after the murder was the extent of the "evidence". He appears to have co-operated with the police and never "lawyered up" or refused to be interigated. For whatever reason, the New Haven detective determined that he did it and waged a campaign to "break him". There is reason to believe that the detectives actions cost him his Job at Yale, got him booted from the grauate program at Quinnipiac University and almost cost him his security clearance with the Navy. The local press definitly reported the case in a manner that suggested that he was guilty and Jovins parents we involved in the move to "bring their daughter's killer to justice".

    At some point, it was determined that the vehicle the couple was seen arguing in was a brown van, that was left near the crime scene that could not be tied to Van De Velde, a man who did not match Van De Valde's description was seen running from the area and the DNA under Jovin's fingernail did not match. Instead of exonerating Van De Velde and attempting to locate an aquaitance of Jovin who might have driven such a van, the PD appeared to have let the case grow cold.

    Eventually Van De Velde sued the New Haven PD and got $80,000. He lost all chance of an academic career but, he has apparently landed on his feet and is now an analyst for a defense contractor.

    The "reading material" that was refered to in the German email was a GRE (graduate Records Exam) study guild, that Van De Velde (a PHD candidate) would have no need for, would most likely have been borrowed by an undergraduate who was about to graduate and would be applying for grad school. At this point, it unlikely that a "male classmate of Jovin's who drove a brown van" can be identified. The case will probably never be solved.
     
  13. reportertype

    reportertype Dogs are awesome!

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    It's possible also, that the van didn't belong to a student at all. I wonder what kind of non-student acquaintances she had.

    thanks for the background, kemo. It appears to me that a good place to start would be fellow students. Not a small group, surely, but a starting point, especially if you have vehicle records.
     
  14. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    This is the only info I can find regarding the knife. I don't know much about knives so I am really not sure if this is helpful at all.
    the tip of an estimated 4-5 inch non-serrated carbon steel blade was found lodged in the left part of Suzanne&#8217;s skull.

    Thanks for your informative post, Kemo. Many details I failed to mention in my little synopsis. It is just mind boggling they would not translate the message she sent to her friend.
     
  15. kemo

    kemo Active Member

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    Everyone who follows True Crime (or Crime fiction, for that matter) know situations where a "persistent" detective "solves" a crime but can't nail it down to the point where charges can be brought. The detective then proceeds to do "psycological battle" with the suspect, who eventually confesses, is pressured into a "mistake" or just commits suicide. It doesn't always work out that way however; as the Suzanne Jovin case illustrates.

    Anyone interested in this situation might check out the following cases
    http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/c/campbell_amanda.html
    AND http://www.charleyproject.org/cases/s/smart_kristin.html

    In one of these cases, most readers will feel that the suspect was guilty and the years of "harassment" was the "next-best thing" to prosecution. The other case is not so clear and many readers will feel that the "dogged pursuit of justice" failed; and an innocent man saw his reputation destroyed while a child killer went unpunished.
     
  16. Stella

    Stella Member

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    Carbon steel knives don't come cheap. Think expensive knife block sets. Could it have been a Bowie knife? I can't imagine a smaller kitchen knife being able to penetrate her skull.
     
  17. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    When I think carbon steel knife I envision like a butcher knife or chef's knife. I could have been a flip-up knife like a hunting knife or like you said a bowie knife that this person just carried with them.

    Everything happened so fast in Jovin's case. When I think of someone stabbing another person 17 times I imagine it taking a little time but I suppose that depends on how deep the stabs were. He/she obviously stabbed her very quickly as there is a very short gap in time between the reports of a fight and the 911 call.

    A murder in an affluent neighborhood in full view of houses is pretty abnormal and lends itself to the theory this murder was not planned and was an act of rage.

    It is nothing short of ridiculous that LE waited so long to release the composite and the vehicle seen at the scene. It isn't going to do a whole lot of good 6 yrs later. Maybe if they had released this information shortly after the murder her case could have been solved.
     
  18. gaia227

    gaia227 I have never taken any exercise except sleeping an

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    Here is a bunch of articles in the NYTimes regarding Jovin's murder but mostly focuses on Velde's plight.
    http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/j/suzanne_jovin/index.html


    Article about the van. Apparently LE was able to locate the van and take it into custody. They also located the vans owner and questioned him. When the article was written the van was in a storage shed somewhere.
    http://www.yaleherald.com/archive/xxxii/11.09.01/news/p5.html


    In 2007 a group of retired detectives were called in to take a new look at Jovin's case:
    http://www.ct.gov/csao/cwp/view.asp?Q=400160&A=1801
     
  19. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    One has to admit that Bindner's behavior is quite unusual though, definitely bordering on creepy. Doesn't make him guilty but it's easy to understand why LE would maintain interest in him.
     
  20. Richard

    Richard Active Member

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    A lot of folks carry knives. Not to stab people with, but because they are very useful tools. In fact the only useless knife is the one left at home.

    Hunters, fishermen, boaters, and people of all professions use a good knife as an essential part of their equipment.

    I carry a folding British Navy knife which has a razor sharp sheeps-foot blade for cutting just about anything, and also a marlin spike for untying tough knots or splicing lines. It also has a screw driver and a bottle/can opener.

    In regard to this case, in which the young lady was stabbed, I would have to speculate that it was done with either a locking type clasp knife or with a sheath knife rather than with any sort of kitchen knife or smaller pocket type knife. Judging from the estimated blade length of 4 to 5 inches, I would tend to rule out the sheath knife and concentrate on the folding type with locking blade, probably with a blade known as a clip point. The autopsey might contain more specific information which would help to narrow down the type of knife more.
     
  21. KarlK

    KarlK New Member

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    Just to add to Richard's comment, I carry a Swiss Army pocket knife as a key holder, it has blades obviously but also several small yet useful tools that anyone has a use for. Had it forever and most people I know, especially guys, also carry similar knives.
     

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