More than ten years after the murder of Davenport senior Suzanne Jovin ’99, investigators are looking into performing DNA tests on a soda bottle she was carrying the December night that she was fatally stabbed.
Lead investigator John Mannion told the New Haven Register that he would ask the state crime lab if the bottle of Fresca soda could still be tested even though it had previously been dusted for fingerprints.
James Van de Velde, Jovin’s senior thesis adviser and a once-popular Yale lecturer, has called for the DNA test on several occasions as a way to clear his name. Van de Velde is the only person to ever be publicly named a suspect in the Jovin case, although no evidence linking him to the crime has ever been made public.
Van de Velde has repeatedly claimed that the investigation did irreparable damage to his image. When investigators renewed their efforts to solve the case in the summer of 2007 they vowed to look at the case as if it had just happened, claiming that “everyone is a suspect and no one is a suspect.”
When asked why the team had not pursued testing the bottle before, Mannion told the Register: “Other things are on our plate. Other evidence has been submitted to the lab.”
More from the Register’s story, below:
He said this included the jewelry Jovin was wearing when she was killed, such as rings and a watch. Her keys were also submitted, Mannion said. He described this as a “re-examination by the lab.”
Mannion also said investigators went out with a half-dozen members of the Nutmeg Treasure Hunters Club on a recent weekend, searching with metal detectors for the murderer’s knife on the streets near the crime scene. He said it wasn’t found.
Asked if his team has contacted Van de Velde to question him about the case, Mannion said, “No, not yet. We’ve kicked it around. He’s been asked a lot of questions in the past. It’s not pressing right now.”
As for his overall feeling about solving the crime, Mannion said, “I’m still very optimistic, very committed. We keep moving forward.”