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September 19th, 2008

This is What Jean Sanseverino Looked Like

I noticed that from time to time people look for pictures of Jean Sanseverino. Jean was murdered on State Street in Brooklyn on March 8, 1951.  The following is from my book (a DD5 is the name of the forms the detectives use to document what they do): 

“There were 243 murders committed in New York in 1951, and 65 of them took place in Brooklyn, where Jean was murdered … 65 is not a lot of murders.  When the 82 precinct [now the 76] caught the Jean Sanseverino homicide it must have been a big deal, but the investigation was over quickly.  The last DD5 where someone actually did something on the case was 1956, but significant activity ended within a month.  A month.  “If you don’t have the God damn thing solved in a couple of days you’ve got a problem,” Deputy Inspector Vito Spano explains.  “In most cases, if you don’t have viable leads within a couple of days, this thing isn’t going to go.  You’re going to get stuck with a cold case.” 

In Jean’s file, every DD5 after 1956 until 1984 says, “No new developments.”  Proof that a detective touched the file, nothing more.  After 1984 no one in the 82 bothered to even claim that. Today, everyone involved, the detectives, Jean’s friends and family, and any suspects are all most likely dead.  The Cold Case Squad isn’t interested in picking up the case.  “I don’t have time to look for ghosts,” Lt. Panzarella snapped.  He wants to catch the murderers who are still alive.  The ones who might beat someone to death again.  Understandably, the detectives want to save lives, so they don’t care about murderers who are dead.  No one anywhere in the NYPD is trying to solve her murder.  Her relatives aren’t writing the Mayor or Police Commissioner.  It’s over.

Fifty-two years later, the scant information about Jean’s life is fading on the aging DD5’s, which are still kept together with straight pins.”

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→ 9 CommentsTags: Cold Case Investigation Facts · Old Murder Cases ·

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sandra Hammond // Jan 25, 2009 at 6:36 pm

    What happened to Jean Sanseverino
    and who do the police realy believe did this to her?

  • 2 Stacy Horn // Jan 25, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Hello Sandra. I just answered your question via email.

  • 3 maria anderson // Jul 5, 2009 at 4:15 pm

    I also am curious as to any forensics they found that could tie any of those men to her murder? i always wondered why they didn’t test any semen for DNA nowdays. Did they have any to test? Did they know back then to save a rape kit? How about any hair samples found in the apartment? When someone is struggling (or not) hair might have been pulled out or just naturally have fallen out. Another angle would be the excrement. Interviewing women of these men to see if they had weird sexual requests or habits. I am pretty sure this was not the only time that has ever come up with this person. Even after this event he may have tried some sort of way to do that again.Who knows? I find these things interesting.

  • 4 Stacy Horn // Jul 13, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I go into all of this in the book! It is all interesting. If this had happened today they could have done a lot more, and if the evidence was saved (it was not) there are tests they could do now.

  • 5 Veronica Wisniewski // Aug 19, 2009 at 2:58 am

    I read the Restless Sleep. I really wish that someone could be brought to trial for the Christine Diefenbach murder. My take on Jean Sanseverino is that there were a number of people within close vicinity at the time of the murder. I also wonder about her roommate. Any further developments?

  • 6 maria // Oct 7, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I read your book as well and I wondered if there are any new developments in any of these cases? anything at all? How can a person follow up on something like this since we are not police or have the credentials to keep up with these cases. As I read about other cases I often wonder what happens to them when they are no longer on the news? Did they arrest someone? that kind of thing.

  • 7 Stacy Horn // Oct 8, 2009 at 9:52 am

    It is frustrating to hear about a case and then not be able to find out how it all ended. Even with credentials it’s hard to find out sometimes. Newspapers report crimes, but except for the cases that for one reason or another become big media cases, unless an arrest is made shortly after, they don’t follow up. I could only advise you on a case by case basis, I can’t think of any general rules for finding out.

    The cases that were unsolved at the end of my book are still unsolved, sadly. With Jean Sanseverino, unless we get a deathbed confession from someone I don’t think it will ever be solved. I was just thinking about her the other day, and her killer. A couple of years after the book came out I did hear from someone who may have been a relative of the roommate Sylvia Krumholz, and if it was, Sylvia eventually suffered from various mental illnesses. I hold out a little more hope with Christine Diefenbach’s case, but her case is still tragically a long shot. I think it will also come down to someone who knows something finally coming forward.

  • 8 Peggy // Apr 4, 2011 at 8:00 am

    What did they find scattered in her apartment and in her bra?

  • 9 Stacy Horn // Apr 4, 2011 at 9:44 am

    That’s an interesting and pretty specific question, what prompted you to ask?

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