Investigators appeal to Jovin’s classmates at reunion

Suzanne Jovin ’99, the Davenport College student who was killed during her senior year, was not on campus this weekend for her 10-year reunion, but her tragic death was not forgotten.

At the request of a team of investigators, the University distributed a letter to members of the Class of 1999, asking for their help with the ongoing investigation of Jovin’s slaying. Jovin, a political science and international studies double major, was found stabbed 17 times on the evening of Dec. 4, 1998. The case has not been solved.

A plaque in Davenport College memorializes Suzanne Jovin, who was murdered in New Haven on Dec. 4, 1998, months before she would have graduated.
Blair Benham-Pyle
A plaque in Davenport College memorializes Suzanne Jovin, who was murdered in New Haven on Dec. 4, 1998, months before she would have graduated.

The letter, written by University Secretary Linda Lorimer, is not only emblematic of investigators’ recent efforts to reach out to Yale alumni but also the first formal outreach that has been made by authorities in almost a year.

“Although he is most reluctant to mar this weekend of celebration, Assistant State’s Attorney James Clark has asked the University to seek your assistance in the continuing investigation of your classmate, Suzanne Jovin,” Lorimer wrote in the letter.

Initially, the detectives investigating the Jovin homicide wanted to have a stack of 8.5×11 pieces of paper folded into cards sitting on a table for alumni to pick up when they checked-in at the reunion this weekend. The cards, titled “In Memory of Suzanne Jovin,” had a picture of Jovin and began “We are investigating the murder of Suzanne and are seeking assistance from her classmates.”

After discussions with Yale, Assistant State’s Attorney James Clark ’72, who is supervising the investigation, said it was decided that a letter from Lorimer would be distributed instead. It was an agreement Clark said he was satisfied with.

“Yale is not getting in our way here,” he said.

Investigation leader John Mannion said last week that his team is hoping to speak to anyone, regardless of whether they had been interviewed by police during the initial investigation, who may have relevant information.

In the last year, Mannion’s team has, at least publically, turned its attention toward Jovin’s former classmates.

Last July, investigators announced that they were seeking the identity of an individual to whom Jovin had lent her GRE study materials.

At 9:02 p.m. on Dec. 4, 1998, less than an hour before she was found stabbed, Jovin sent an e-mail to a female Yale classmate of hers. In the e-mail, Jovin apologized for not returning her classmate’s phone call. Jovin wrote that she had her classmate’s GRE study materials, including a book and a CD-ROM, but had lent them out to “someone” else.

Jovin wrote that she would retrieve the books and leave them in the foyer of her apartment for the classmate to pick up, giving her classmate the code to her apartment in case Jovin was not in the building. The identity of the “someone” had never been probed by the authorities, Mannion said at the time.

Just two weeks prior to the investigators’ call for the “someone” who had Jovin’s GRE materials, they put out another public request for information. The team disseminated a sketch of a man seen running near the intersection where Jovin was stabbed.

The man in question was a “physically fit and athletic looking white male with defined features, 20 to 30 years of age, with well groomed blond or dark blond hair. He was wearing dark pants and a loose fitted greenish jacket.” The individual in the sketch seemed young enough to be a local university student, but investigators declined at the time to speculate beyond his physical description.

The Connecticut State’s Attorney’s office formed Jovin Investigation Team in the summer of 2007. Prior to that summer, the state’s Cold Case Unit had been in charge of the case since 2006, when it took over from the NHPD.

Anyone with information can reach the investigators at 203-676-1575 or at

Paul Needham contributed reporting.


  • JHC

    Good idea, and i thought i thought of everything.. Maybe not only the seniors of that year but juniors too, please come forward with any info ,any unusual actions or statements from fellow students that might not be directly aimed at Miss Jovin but were a mentality and disposition.

  • Anonymous

    This info on her contacts on the night of her murder has been brought up before,i guess whoever she borrowed the books from is not admitting to it and they are still seeking this person of interest out, yes important ,but stil sounds like a typical day-in-the-life of a student
    I noticed that they tore her place of residence down and built something pretty nice, It was an off campus University Property abode,not sure what stands there now, not quite on the corner of Park & Edgewood,almost str8 across from the Piersson Gate,one can walk clear thru to Phellps where she drops the keys to a best buddy vehicle off at ,something she did a few times before,was that twice a week ??
    ,they say the girl did'nt walk str8 back but exited the gate onto College and was last seen walking towards Elm ( 3/4 to the corner)with a blonde guy in front of her and a black hispanic a few steps behind her
    Anybody see her up near Krauzers/Wawas on Dec.3 1998 ? would of been about 9:35
    They believe she entered a vehicle on College street, maybe…They claim to have had someone who admitted to giving her a ride over to Edgehill rd. & East Rock rd. , but have absolutely no idea as to who she was going to visit ,not even the mysterious motorists.. That's why i ask again if anybody seen this girl at all walking up Elm street towards Park where she lived -just in case - hey it's a murder case.
    They supposedly found a soda bottle with her fingerprint on it and a partial print of unknown person,some say only Krauzers sold that brand in the downtown area.
    This Van who admitted to giving her a ride was spotted on the corner and immediate vicinity of where a passing car saw her body - between 9:45 and 9:50
    These are all released statements from the press via police dept.
    there has been a report of someone spotting this van on some adjacent streets in the East Rock area
    According to one press release the owners of this van pulled the rug out and painted this vehicle soon after this.
    Sounded like the worst botch job by the PD in the History of mankind ,unless they are withholding something else

  • anonymous

    Did they ask any students if Miss Jovin knew this person(s) who gave her a lift ?
    Are the occupants of the van claiming to have known Miss Jovin ? Did they ask her where she was headed ?
    If she did know them than why not get picked up at her abode and drive down to College st ,drop the keys off and then proceed with their chilled plastic bottle of fresca.
    Did they surprise her with "the ride home "
    If she did not know them than why hop in, i mean she was telling everyone she was going str8 home, and why walk onto College street and take the long way home ?
    Maybe it is the mysterious phone call after all and the place of rendevous was pre planned ?
    Neighbors in East Rock claimed to have heard an argument in the almost immediate vicinity of her discovered bleeding body at around the same time of the van.
    But the residents whose bay window overlooks the spot heard nothing
    What did the van driver have to say about ,"dropping her off", did they see anything or anybody ?
    Was'nt that about 9:50 that a first motorist called in a hurt girl at the corner of East Rock and Edgehill ?
    A man walking a dog stumbled on the scene with another gent arriving.
    From 9:30 pm when she exited Phellps gate to 9:45 to 9:50 when they spotted a van around that corner - Christ that is a very tight time frame - How long would it take a vehicle to travel that mile or two ? It does'nt leave much for unaccounted for time does it ?

  • joey

    A group of students spotted Susanne in her window and asker her if she would like to go to York Square Theater with them ,she declined stating that she was tired
    A fellow student conversed with Miss Jovin on Campus ,this was while she was on her way to the office to return the keys to a best buddy vehicle that was used earlier that evening (vehicle was left in a lot on Howe street,a Yale lot),she confided in him that she was tired and going straight home to rest..
    This other student was returning from a Yale hockey game at Ingalls and saw her walking towards Elm but maybe not quite 3/4 or halfway.

    Honestly i think both of these people should have been giving a lie detecter test just for the heck of it.
    The University and general public thanx them for coming forward ,unlike the missing book lender or borrower.

  • Anonymous

    No one has ever "admitted to giving her a ride". Find that person and you've likely found the murderer(s). Given the Fresca, which almost definitely would have been bought at Wawa/Krauszers on York/Elm, Jovin was almost back home and thus anything suspicious would have likely taken place in that vicinity, not on College St where the police have been focusing for the past decade.

  • joey

    Well actually #5 ,according to the New Haven Register & Yale Daily News they have someone who admitted to giving her a ride, which is unbelievable , in the sense of …?
    This van was spotted parked alongside of where the body was found (adjacent) - it was there between 9:45 & 9:50 - i'm not sure exactly which side of the street ,toward Prospect on East Rock etc.
    It was also spotted on East Rock Rd.& Livingston that nite, -you can google her name and come up with a lot of info.
    The police never even asked for film from Krauzers, no work on the bar code on the fresca bottle was done,which would name a definite store.
    That's why one keeps asking #5 if anybody saw her anywhere else than Elm street after 9:30 -AND NO ONE HAS , or at least not publicy
    They should put everything out in the open
    It sounds like somebody sequestered her around that gate and informed Miss Jovin that someone needed to speak with her,sounds like they escorted her to a waiting vehicle ..

  • Anonymous

    The investigators state that Yale University is in compliance with the new investigation. cool, How about the "other" entity within your University ,The Union . At that gate is the Union Hall,where you file grievances and the locale of Unite Here.
    It's also the security offices and security / hospitality officers . One can see Yale PD cars at the gate also.
    (not accusing anyone,but it is as important as a student loaning a book)
    Union pension funds and loans on their back is a very nasty nasty issue that goes back to Hoffa and Las Vegas.
    This girl lived over a YALE PD substation also, and went to this major brass office.
    Interesting are the entanglements of Lawyers/Suspects/Administrators

    p.s. -there was a person of interest also whom Miss Jovin had a nasty argument with ,she filed an official complaint against somebody

  • anonymous

    The murder of Bonnie Garland, Yale student, comes to mind. Could a similar scenario be at work in this case:

    In the early morning hours of July 7, 1977, Yale graduate Richard Herrin bludgeoned Yale college senior Bonnie Garland to death with a hammer as she lay sleeping in her parent's Scarsdale, New York, home. The two college students had been dating for a year. Herrin showed up unexpectedly at the Garland home and Bonnie invited him to spend the weekend. They hadn't seen each other in several weeks and Bonnie told Richard she wanted to break off their relationship.

    After attacking Bonnie, Herrin stole the Garland family car and drove to Coxsackie. He found a church and told the priest inside, "I just killed my girlfriend."

  • Med Student

    The fact that she was brutally stabbed so many times really smells like a crime of passion. And she was seen with a white piece of paper or papers before handing in the keys at the gate by another student so was this grievance she was filing? And where did that paper end up?

  • Joe Clousseau

    Could very well be a crime of passion.
    Telling all of the potential suiters that she has a headache, "not tonite dear i'm tired" , (stretches arms out and yawns)
    Who has'nt been blown off at one time or another,i mean given the shake,spurned.
    Maybe it was a secret tryst thing where maybe the romeos other girlfriend caught them ? maybe she was caught out by a jilted lover
    Ask them when they're on trial..

    Developing a conclusion as to what u think happened then building the case around is never the way to go.
    Basic proceedure and forensics must be followed, the police are waiting for a confession ?
    Let's not romanticise this brutal crime.
    Contact the investigators and they will tell you,"do you know who killed her"?
    uhh no - then please don't bother us

    A man walking a dog happened upon a man standing over her body at 9:58 pm
    An on-line posting stated the man over her body was a policeman.
    If she did make it home or was walking towards it then it changes the time frame and case.
    maybe she was picked up at Phellps then drove around and stopped at Krauzers ,maybe the ride stopped there first

  • anonymous

    As any crime profiler will tell you, a crime of this brutality is not committed casually (robbery, bar fight, etc.). It points to either a psychotic attack by a mentally unstable person (van der Velde does not fit this profile) or to a crime of passion in which anger piled up over months/years finally erupts. The repeated knife attacks point to depth of involvement and length of time with which the victimizer externalizes and inscribes his anger/rage onto the victim. It would be wise to look at boyfriend and other close persons to the victim again and verify alibis objectively (student or family supported alibis should be ruled out as they may be too subjective). In a domestic killing, the perpetrator is usually the spouse or a close relative(see statistics). With students, one should consider the larger family of the student peers as the immediate suspect pool. Comment 8 gives a good historical example from a previous Yale murder.

  • Mr.Masengll

    I agree #11, i bet the investigators agree also (includes any other privately hired cop too) - but i can tell that you don't reside in New Haven , or have not resided here for long,senseless violence occurs constantly, An extreme corrupt and violent police dept.sets the tempo.
    But what about anybody who kills anybody at all ,for any reason? is a sick puppy period right ?
    What about a murder for hire ?
    The great Nazi hunting family that was in her circle ?
    Have the Monday morning Quarterbacks factored in STEROIDS ? aka "Roid Rage"
    One on-line comment was about Mr.VDW,having a nasty disposition and a real big man on campus.? -
    not that i think he did it - ,but can't be ruled out, The folks in those offices on College street that literally overlook the spot where she entered vehicle.
    - a possible scenario is that the van had an occupant that was finishing business on poor Miss Jovin,the van left in fear or impatience, lucky and smart for them as this killer could have finished them off as witnesses.
    A man walking the dog could have walked right past a psycho hiding in the bushes and coming out to stab her again.
    ..just because

  • anon

    ..overheard argument on the nite of the murder could very well be between the assailants - like a devised ruse to keep snoops away - it's just a lovers spat and go back inside - I've personally heard that bull before that's why i'm mentioning it .
    A robbery attempt would come to mind ,

  • joey

    Yes a few rumours and statements have this Girl returning the same way home as she always did - arriving home about 9:35 -9:40 , Over the Yale Police Dept,
    Quite a few vehicles parked in front and around this establishment , seems like an awful lot of lying and steering of this case from the Police Unions -A joint effort from Yale & New Havens double headed band of lollygaggers.
    I'm getting in my car tommorow and parking in front of this Park street empty lot and timing how long it takes to arrive at East Rock Rd & Edgehill
    All of those dispatch and employs should be heavily scrutinized and examined ,

  • Anonymous

    Joey, please show me where it is written anywhere that someone admitted to giving Miss Jovin a ride. Anyone walking from College St to York St via Elm St will be walking against one-way traffic, so that makes being driven to Krauszers (which is on York St) a longshot.

    The probability is high that the Yale student to whom Miss Jovin lent the GRE materials was going to take the GRE test soon. Have these rosters been obtained and all the Yale students on it checked out? Yale hired a PI, Andy Rosenzweig, to do his own investigation. It would be nice to see in print that Yale turned over its investigation files to Mannion et al.

    Given the DNA and fingerprint evidence, I do think one day the crime will be solved-- but by forensics experts, not by the "traditional" methods being employed over and over again by all the investigators assigned to this case so far.

  • Anonymous

    #15 , you can google Susan Jovins name and do a search. I would never never ever come on-line and lie about such a thing.
    The New Haven Register & Yale Daily News had reports that "someone" admitted to giving her a ride - period.
    My bad for not saving the article ,i just don't save every article.
    They claimed to have givin the occupants of this van lie detecter tests.

    Whether all of this is true or not -i don't know
    I only reiterate what they are claiming

    i'm not stating that i believe it either

    A brown Ford Van 1996 i believe it was,was spotted next to where her body was found - and according to news releases ,they removed the rug from this van and painted it.
    They don't say why or where they were taking this girl
    or where they picked her up from

    Older Yale Daily news articles about this case has all of this there

    You can do some research,

    please become a concerned member of the Yale community - Susan so needs your help

    The Apathy is appalling

    ..a girl who is telling every one she is tired and going home and staying that nite suddenly accepts a ride.
    Dropped off on a corner where
    she has never been before ( nobody ever saw her in that area or has come forward seeing her in the East Rock Rd./ Agricultural center vicinity)
    Butchered by a stranger / lover / ? etc.
    as she exited vehicle ,or slaughtered as the van drove away

    Ten years this case has gone unsolved,

    Why would she walk that long way - down College to Elm ,than up Elm to York,
    maybe stopping at Krauzers but,that is taking the long route home and makes no sense whatsoever.

    - Returning thru the courtyard and thru the next one onto York and then possibly stopping at Krauzers
    Dropping the keys off at that main gate
    (which is a question in itself, if she was late with the keys ?,was someone waiting for the vehicle? did she run into someone there ?
    WHO IS THE PERSON WHO SHE HAD AN ARGUMENT WITH ? was that person in the area ?
    Relying on forensics is probably a moot point now as they bumbled the forensic part,they dropped the ball bad.
    I hope they can salvage what they have remaining
    Good point about Rosenzweig , some of the bits and pieces might have came from him

  • Anonymous

    They can only drag out the false accusation of Van Der Welde for so long.
    Now they claim to be starting the case anew, so whatever little evidence and major evidence in the brown van that was spotted next to her butchered body is all a fairy tale and non-existent.
    #15 makes the most outrageous comment i ever heard about this case - Yes Virginia there is a van ,and they were from the MILFORD,CT area - They took a 3 yr old van and removed the rug and painted it -
    Ask reporter Bharat at the Yale Daily News about the van - ask the reporter at Vanity Fair - ask - The New Haven Register - ask this Yales' Proff. David Cameron


    Did they ever recover these important mysterious Da Vinci papers ? no
    A Mislead and a waste of time.
    A lot of the info was forcibly released by people like Rosenwzweig.

    The Apathy of Yale University is atrocious, it was horrifying from day 1

    please get involved and help this poor murdered girl obtain justice

    you can google Susan Jovin and even see a pic of this van

  • anonymous

    What is all the hype with the GRE materials? Any investigation could go back and locate all the Yale GRE applicants in the specific area of that year. One would then simply have to move by elimination and interview individuals of concern. So why this public call? I'm not sure if the investigators are genuinely interested in finding the culprit.

  • RealPain

    They have a real bad issue at Yale right now that needs to be addressed. They are confiding with a Law Firm that is representing th eonly named suspect - James Van Der Welde or Velde,whatever…
    One of these Attorneys is an adviser and consultant to Corporation Counsel -you can talk to Yales Corporation until you turn Harvard red but what this firm says is the only word. They represented some actual killers before and have had a problem whilst they sat on the Bd. of the Board of Education - Any and all info is immediately twisted called a lie,denied ,and ground out - they should excuse themselves

  • joey

    This girl resided in a University Properties abode -off campus housing. They have an office on Temple street but the office at her time of death was on Broadway - i may be wrong but 98% sure.
    It is a place that has property managers / yard services / painters / eviction personnel , the whole nine yards
    They coerce and manipulate these employs in a bad way, "not enough work for everybody" ,"why does she / he live there when they are not Union or a student", "if we smash their car up they will leave and then we will have work"
    Hoodlums and criminals of the worse kind with a privelege handed to them by hires with mental health issues themselves

  • Crazy Bull

    Friends help friends move

    Real friends help friends move bodies

  • Joseph H

    After all i've heard - 100% done by the New Haven Police Dept - All of that walking in a bad neighborhood by this girl attracted the attention of incompetent nincompoops , with nothing to do and all nite to do it
    And after seeing the 12 cops around East Rock Park today ,lolligagging about
    One was a ringer for the sketch, has grown a beard. I wonder if the beard is to cover the scratches administered by Miss Jovin ?

  • joey00

    From the grapevine..Intuition.A little math..A worker at Yale had a beef with another girl,, a new employee girl , first girl does not like new girl at all , she informs her of the dislike ( get out of here,what are you doing here, i’ll have you fired,your a such and such and so and so ) They knew each other from another place and time..
    Blows were exchanged, first girl , popular and union member was flattened, diners of a kitchen and students stood with mouths agape,showing gold teeth and other valuables …Shocked into silence ..Upon awake said amiable girl about gateways ,i think that’s what they call them , archways, you know where employees load students valuables every holiday and leave room empty …Second girl , butch, was fired…But lo and behold – The employees know that one can never be fired from Yale . SO THERE SHE WAS , spotted on College Street,High, Elm , oh Christ shitt there’s that beetch that knocked you the frucked out yo – ” were gonna get her” said the disgraced and humiliated union posse of family and smoke caracka friends about archways…”FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT” ,screamed the students
    “Today’s the day yo “, says the Pierson,Davenport,Stiles , Branford Etc. Mob.
    “Tonight is it” , “we are going to catch her when she walks by”. Oh the excitement the students had – “What a warm beautiful night for a fight”
    Pierson was going to see the old fired,rehired,old friend,hated friend, get beat down yo.
    “C’mon Susanne” , Pierson posse yelled at susanne on Park Street , “Sue” There going to catch her at the Post office where we see her walk a few nights a week.
    Susanne must have thought , oh wait that’s ME, i know old popular drug headd from my Cafeteria – Are they talking about ME ?
    “Uhhh No”, Susanne Jovin replied , “I uhhh have a headache” , Then even her phone rang , “quick susanne they’re waiting for this girl now” , “Hurry and we can see a big brawl as old kitchen popular druggie user pointer out HAS BROTHERS AND COUSINS to eff up any of the other girl’s posse Yo”
    It was then Susanne who was walking and then mistaken as a nervous bunch of p-dope fiends and cockaine users wanted it done quickly and be out – Impress the students at the same time.
    They were so afraid of getting knocked out by the girl like Little Miss Hospitality Union Girl was