The murder case of a 20-year-old New York woman has been resolved after 42 yearsOn March 30, 2022 by editor
Eve Wilcovitz was killed on her way home from work in 1980.
March 30, 2022, 7:52 PM
A Read 5 minutes
Eve Wilkowitz was 20 years old in 1980 when she was abducted, raped and strangled to death on her way home from her secretariat job in Manhattan on a train to Bay Shore, New York. Her body was found near her apartment on Long Island.
On Wednesday, Suffolk County police and prosecutors announced that the killer was a man who had died of cancer in 1991 and lived near the place where Wilcovits’ body was found three days after he had not returned home.
Investigators relied on advances in DNA technology to identify the suspect as Herbert Rice, who was 29 at the time.
“We have solved the murder case of Eve Wilkowitz, 42 years old,” Suffolk District Attorney Raymond Tierney announced at a news conference. “It was a study of perseverance, a determination to work on the case no matter what.”
Investigators relied on genetic heredity, which has been used to help solve a number of cold cases across the country. This enables the police and the FBI to submit the DNA left in Wilcovitt’s body to the DNA database of clients so that there are countless people outside the criminal justice system.
A similarity was established through one of Rice’s relatives. Investigators exhumed Rice’s body and compared his DNA with samples recovered from an initial rape kit, establishing him as a suspect.
Wilcovitts’ sister, Irene, thanked investigators and recalled with tears in her eyes when detectives knocked on her door with a message: “We have identified the person responsible for Eve’s death.”
“He never fulfilled his dream,” Irene Wilkowitz said of her sister.
Rice was convicted of three counts of felony criminal mischief for failing to take DNA samples at the time.
“This type of investigation has never been easier, but the relentless work and partnership has helped us close the Wilcovits family,” said Suffolk Police Commissioner Rodney Harrison.
ABC’s Aaron Katarsky reports: