New Clues in Yale Student Murder

It's been nearly 10 years since Suzanne Jovin was stabbed to death near Yale University's campus, but investigators are still releasing new clues in the case.

The team of retired detectives looking into Jovin's murder is now re-examining an old lead in the case and has circulated a sketch of a man seen running near the place her body was found.

On Dec. 4, 1998, Jovin, a 21-year-old senior from Goettingen, Germany, was stabbed 17 times in the back and neck, with some defensive wounds on her arms, just a little more than a mile from the school's campus.


Her body was discovered in a residential area almost immediately following the attack after nearby residents reported hearing screams. She was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and pronounced dead in the emergency room later that night.

Shortly after the murder was reported, a local woman came forward claiming to have seen a man run in front of her car just half a mile from where Jovin's body was found. She had been driving slowly enough to get a look at his face and give a description to police.

The witness described a white male of medium height in his 20s or 30s, athletically built with blond to dark hair and sharp, chiseled facial features. Prosecutor James Clark in New Haven State's Attorney's Office, who inherited the case in 2000 after the former prosecutor became a judge, said the witness told authorities the man "was running pretty fast," which made her suspicious.

However, a source with knowledge of the case said the witness's information was disregarded at the time because investigators and the media were focused on Jovin's thesis adviser, who is no longer considered a suspect. The source called the decision to focus on the adviser a "fatal flaw" in the investigation.

Outside agencies were enlisted to help the local police who struggled with the investigation, and in 2000 Jovin's family brought in two retired New York City police officers to help with the case. The two worked on it for more than a year, to no avail.

Roughly a year ago, the case was handed over to a group of retired Connecticut state police detectives, Clark told ABC News.

The new investigative team reviewed the old evidence and contacted the witness to have a sketch made of the man seen on the night of the murder.

The team, however, was very hesitant to make the sketch public, Clark said, because "this picture is not a portrait of anybody." That is why the police are not calling the depicted male a person of interest or a suspect.

Clark explains the dangers of such sketches. "Because they are approximations, people could say, 'I don't know anybody that looks like that' without reading the description below," he said.

Clark and his team are emphasizing the importance of the detailed description of the man's physical attributes, clothes and hair color, which are written beneath the police sketch because the sketch is of what a man looked like 10 years ago, so the account is more informative.

Clark has asked the public to come forward with any information regarding the case.