Brother of woman slain on vacation in 1973 calls suspect's arrest 'bittersweet'

PHOTO: Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler are pictured in images released by the Virginia Beach Police Department. The two 19-year-old women were slain in 1973 while on vacation in Virginia.PlayVirginia Beach Police Department
WATCH Brother speaks about cold case arrest in sister's killing

The brother of a 19-year-old woman murdered on vacation in 1973 said the arrest of her suspected killer this week was "bittersweet" news.

"It's very difficult," Mike Pietropola told ABC Pittsburgh affiliate WTAE. "It's bringing back a lot of memories that have been stowed away for years."

Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler, 19-year-old friends from the Pittsburgh area, were on vacation in Virginia Beach, Virginia, when they were "found brutally murdered" at a motel cottage on June 30, 1973, according to Virginia Beach police. The case was cold for decades, until an 80-year-old New York City man was arrested this week.

PHOTO: Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler are pictured in images released by the Virginia Beach Police Department. The two 19-year-old women were slain in 1973 while on vacation in Virginia. Virginia Beach Police Department
Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler are pictured in images released by the Virginia Beach Police Department. The two 19-year-old women were slain in 1973 while on vacation in Virginia.

Mike Pietropola, now 57, was 11-years-old when his sister was killed.

"That day is etched in my mind and will be until the day I die," he told WTAE.

Ernest Broadnax, 80, was arrested Monday in New York City and charged with two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of Seethaler and Pietropola, said Macie Allen, a spokeswoman for the Commonwealth Attorney's Office. Broadnax was also charged with one count of rape, said Allen.

Mike Pietropola said his parents died years ago and one of his "biggest regrets" is that they weren't alive to see an arrest.

"We're very pleased that they finally apprehended the suspect," he told WTAE, "but at the same time, it's very difficult for us. It's bringing back a lot of memories that have been stowed away for years. And, you know, the victim's family, this is a life sentence for us."

"She was a beautiful person," Mike Pietropola said of his big sister. "She was so gentle, so kind... she had great aspirations for herself."

Allen did not disclose how Broadnax was identified as a suspect and would not provide any of the alleged evidence against him, citing the pending case. Virginia Beach police only said they were following a lead in the fall of 2018. But according to a police source, Broadnax was tracked through DNA left at the crime scene.

Efforts by ABC News to reach Pietropola, as well as a defense attorney for Broadnax, were not immediately successful.

Broadnax is next due in Queens Criminal Court on April 22.

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