The New Haven Police Department has had custody of a van believed to be connected to the Suzanne Jovin ’99 murder investigation for six months, the New Haven Register reported Thursday, citing an unnamed source.

The van, a 1982 Dodge E-250, now painted white, is believed to be the “tan van” several witnesses reported seeing near the intersection of Edgehill and East Rock roads, where Jovin’s body was found the night of Dec. 4, 1998. An unidentified police official told the Register that while the van may still be important to investigators, the way it fits with the rest of the clues is not yet clear.

“It’s uncertain what its role is at this point,” the official said. “It’s still of evidentiary value, but to what extent is unclear.”

New Haven Police Chief Melvin Wearing revealed that police were seeking the van at a press conference in March, about a month before the NHPD reportedly took custody of the vehicle. Police have said that while the occupants of the van are not suspects in Jovin’s murder, they may have witnessed her killing or have other important information.

The van’s owner, a Guilford resident, has already been questioned several times by police, according to the Register.

The report that police have the van in custody is the latest development in the three-year-old murder case, which has generated only one named suspect: former Yale political science lecturer James Van de Velde ’82.

Van de Velde has adamantly maintained his innocence. Investigators said in October that a DNA sample offered by Van de Velde did not match DNA evidence taken from under the fingernails on Jovin’s left hand, but State’s Attorney Michael Dearington declined to comment on Van de Velde’s status as a suspect.

–Brian Ginsberg