New York City man Ernest Broadnax arrested in 1973 Virginia Beach double-murder: Police

The women, both 19, were on vacation when they were killed in June 1973.

April 10, 2019, 9:59 AM

An 80-year-old man from Queens, New York, has been arrested in the cold case killings of two 19-year-old women who were slain in 1973 while on vacation in Virginia, officials said.

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

Broadnax was also charged with one count of rape, said Allen.

Seethaler and Pietropola, both from the Pittsburgh area, were on vacation in Virginia Beach when they were "found brutally murdered" at a motel cottage on June 30, 1973, according to Virginia Beach police.

The friends, who had graduated high school in 1972 and were working as secretaries, were planning to return to Pittsburgh the day their bodies were found by a motel employee, reported The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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

Allen would not say how the teenagers were killed. But according to ABC New York station WABC, police said Pietropola was raped, strangled and shot three times, while Seethaler was shot twice and had her throat slashed with a broken wine bottle.

The case went cold for decades until the fall of 2018, when investigators "began aggressively researching a strong lead they had received," according to Virginia Beach police.

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.

But according to a police source, Broadnax was tracked through DNA left at the crime scene.

Broadnax has prior arrests including assault and burglary, according to officials. His arrests in New York City date back to 1990.

Broadnax is expected to be extradited to Virginia but an extradition date was not immediately known, said Allen.

He is next due in Queens Criminal Court on April 22. His attorney from the Legal Aid Society did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky and Ben Stein contributed to this report.

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