What Happened to Yale University Student Suzanne Jovin Murder Case?

After a decade, the unsolved case of Suzanne Jovin is still a mystery. The investigation team had exerted all the efforts to have the lead but as of today, no suspect had been charged of the murder crime.

The Victim :  Facts about Suzanne Nahuela Jovin

  • Born on January 26,1977 at Goettingen, Germany to parents Thomas and Donna Jovin (by profession both are Molecular Scientists). Suzanne  was 21 then when the incident happened. 
  • Political Science major Senior student at Yale University
  • An achiever and well traveled woman who speaks four languages
  • Talented, fun to be with, popular student,  co-founded Yale German Club and sang in Bach Chorus
  • Does volunteer works such as a tutor to New Haven Public schools children and helps mentally handicapped adults

The Murder

On the night of December 4, 1998 at 9:58pm, the cold body of Suzanne Jovin was found. She was stabbed to death seventeen times with hits on the back and neck.on a busy streets of Edgehill Road and East Rock Road in New Haven near Yale University Campus. Just about 9:45pm, a local resident heard a man and woman arguing  and afterwards a scream.  Because of the argument heard, initial speculations was Suzanne may probably knew her  killer but there was no evidence of sexual assault nor robbery. She was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and pronounced dead. 

The Unsolved Mystery Case

The 38 year old former Yale Dean James Van de Velde is the first and main suspect for the murder.  He was Suzanne's senior thesis adviser.  The adviser denies affair with the victim and he had no relation about  the murder. He was  excluded from the suspects list because of lack of evidence.  In 2001, he filed a lawsuit against New Haven policemen who named him as the main suspect  on Jovins case and because of this he had lost reputation.  The suit  was found not valid and dismissed last March 2004 by United States District Court.   There are other suspects named but de Velde was the only publicized one, but later on  the police had also been  careful on naming suspects publicly.

After the killing, the police conducted several interviews on the school campus and outside from the circle of Suzanne's friends and acquaintances.  But no avail, the investigators are frustrated to get a concrete evidence including the murder weapon.  In June of 2007, the State’s Attorney Michael Dearington asked the help of retired Connecticut State Police detectives to handle the investigation.  The investigation team had asked the help of the community for any lead that they may give for the case.  The State of Connecticut had even offered 50,000$ reward and Yale University added 100,000$ as reward. 

In September 2009, the Jovin family wrote a letter to  Gov. M. Jodi Rell to fund and fill the understaffing positions of Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory that could help in the faster investigations of New Haven crimes.  After a decade,  Suzanne Jovin's story is only one of the unsolved murders in the United States.  

With thousands of  unsolved crimes,reported or not reported, how many parents or loved-ones that are longing for justice.  The killer is still a free man, will he be? If justice cannot be of man's hands then there will be with the Divine.  Justice prevails in the end.

Sources :

The New York Times, September 2009

Murder Most Yale, Vanity Fare by Suzanna Andrews, August 1999

State of Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice, Press Release, November 2007

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