HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – A cemetery in Hamden may now be the key to solving a 47-year-old cold case in East Haven. Police are looking to use new technology to make a major breakthrough in the case.
A body was exhumed Wednesday at the State Street Cemetery in Hamden. This came after East Haven police received a tip that a 1975 homicide victim is buried there.
“There was nothing on her that could identify who she was,” said retired New Haven Police Officer Tony Griego, who has devoted his retirement years to helping solve an East Haven murder.
So then it became a mystery.
The body of a young woman, given the name Jane Doe, was discovered on Aug. 16, 1975, by a truck diver in a tarp in a drainage ditch in East Haven, behind the former Bradlees department store.
She was buried in Hamden a year later after the Chief Medical Examiner couldn’t identify her body.
She is believed to have been 5 feet 5 inches tall or 5 feet 6 inches tall with brown hair and hazel eyes.
“Generations of detectives have worked extremely hard on this case but they didn’t have the modern technology that we have today. So we are confident with today’s advancements we can apply it to this case, and hopefully identify her,” said East Haven Police Captain Joseph Murgo.
With some help from the Hamden town clerk, they determined the victim’s burial permit was at State Street Cemetery, where they proceeded in the exhumation of her presumed body.
“Unfortunately, it was not the girl we had hoped for,” Griego said.
Police said the body exhumed was a male, so the investigation continues.
“The exact coordinates we were originally going off seem to be incorrect. So we do have more investigative leads to follow,” Murgo said.
The poor record-keeping at this cemetery is something police were aware of coming in.
“They never marked the grave, and that’s part of the challenge as we try and locate her actual burial site,” Murgo said.
Murgo said there have been several suspects named in connection to the homicide over the years, but her identity is needed to make any significant leads.
Though the victim’s body was not found Wednesday, East Haven police are confident she still is buried here and will be back again as they continue to work this cold case.