January 16, 2007

Yale student's '98 murder linked to 9/11?

(Updated 01/17/08. Case reopened.)

If you are suspicious about 9/11, then you should know about this suspicious murder of a college student back in 1998.

Suzanne Jovin, 21, was a senior at Yale University, the elitist Ivy League school home to the infamous Skull & Bones. She was born and raised in Germany by her American parents who are top scientists who work at Germany’s esteemed Max Planck Institute. Her father, Thomas Jovin, is chairman of department of Molecular Biology there and her mother, Donna, works in her husband’s department as a cell biologist. She had two older half-sisters, Ellen and Diana Jovin, from her father's first marriage. 

Suzanne had been busy trying to finish up her senior thesis when on the night of Friday Dec. 4, 1998, four days before her senior thesis was due, someone had stabbed Suzanne 17 times in the neck, back, and head near a street corner in an affluent neighborhood in New Haven, CT. Her murder is still unsolved to this day with no arrests and few suspects. The case has just been turned over to the state’s cold case unit.

The only person ever publicly named as a suspect was her senior thesis advisor, Professor James van de Velde, 39. It first seemed like some kind of student/teacher love affair gone bad cliché because of their close association, the viciousness of the stabbing and with none of her belongings taken (including money still in her pocket), the murder spoke of a crime of passion, not a motive for robbery. Police also said that Suzanne most likely knew her killer.

However, any motive about a sexual/romance connection seems to have been ruled out. Suzanne had a boyfriend, Roman Caudillo (who’s been cleared of the crime), since her freshman year that her friends and family said she was happy with and seems to be no evidence she was having an affair with Van de Velde, along with no mention of an affair with him in Suzanne’s diary. Police also said there was no evidence of a sexual assault during her murder.

The Real Motive?

So with no student/teacher love affair gone array, no real evidence this was some kind of senseless random act of violence, and no other real motives raised by police or the press, there seems to be only one motive left that has been greatly overlooked, the subject of Suzanne's senior thesis and one of Van de Velde's area of expertise:

Osama Bin Laden

“Meanwhile, Jovin's thesis was on international terrorism, with a specific focus on a Saudi citizen by the name of Osama bin Laden. Even then, some thought that the subject matter might have gotten her killed by sparking the interest of those who sought to protect the terrorist and his work.” – Yale Hearld (12/06/02)
“She chose a subject in Van de Velde's area of expertise: the international terrorist Osama bin Laden… – Vanity Fair (01/16/06)

Now here is where it really gets interesting. Van de Velde was no ordinary college lecturer. Get a load of his background:
  • He has a Ph.D. in international-security studies.
  • In 1988 he was selected for a prestigious Presidential Management Internship for those interested in and committed to a career in federal government.
  • He was appointed to work at the Pentagon and State Department by the first Bush administration for nuclear weapons arms control.
  • He’s lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Intelligence Reserves.
  • He worked on the Dayton Peace Accords in 1997 as a mobilized reservist performing a voluntary active duty assignment for the U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command.
  • He’s analyzed the drug trade out of Latin America.
  • Students heard rumors that he worked for the C.I.A.
  • Was the executive director at Stanford's Asia-Pacific Research Center.
  • And perhaps the most eye-opening, he had a security clearance five levels above top secret!

After Suzanne’s murder, Van de Velde went back to work for the Pentagon before 9/11 where his “extremely high” security clearance was renewed. He works in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications and intelligence.

Then Van de Velde, the al Qaeda expert, went to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he interrogated al Qaeda suspects because he was able to do what the military could not do well: break down suspects until they reveal their closely guarded secrets.

Van de Velde does not have a confirmed alibi for Suzanne’s murder. He said he back at his apartment around 9 pm watching TV and his apartment is only three blocks south of the crime scene.

(Green balloon is Van de Velde's apt: 305 St Ronan St. Red balloon is where Jovin's body was found at E Rock Rd & Edgehill Rd.)

Before her murder, Suzanne had been complaining about Van de Velde as stated in this Vanity Fair article:

“If the police found no evidence of a romance, they did, however, learn something else. By November, it appears, the professional relationship between Van de Velde and Jovin had broken down almost completely. Although Van de Velde had written her a glowing recommendation for graduate school in late October, Jovin began to feel that he had no time for her. According to a friend of Jovin's, she had tried repeatedly to meet with Van de Velde about her senior essay and had felt that she was rebuffed. In the weeks before she died, says this friend, "she complained bitterly about a bunch of things in that class, and especially his lack of support for her project. He had shown no interest in her work." For a college-thesis adviser basically to check out on a student trying to get feedback on her senior essay would be unusual in any case. But for Van de Velde—a devoted teacher noted for his availability, who would take his students to lunch to help them with their work, and who answered their E-mails within minutes—it would have been downright bizarre. During November, it appears that Jovin was trying to pin down a time to meet with Van de Velde. "They never did get together [then]," says Ira Grudberg. "They couldn't get the dates right and so forth."
By Thanksgiving, Jovin had become upset; her essay was due on December 8. "Suzanne indicated to us during the Thanksgiving break—we were together in California—how deeply she resented the lack of mentoring by this senior thesis advisor," her parents recall. Although Van de Velde denies having received it, Jovin's parents say she had handed in a draft on November 17. She left a second draft with Van de Velde right before the Thanksgiving holiday. Jovin told friends that Van de Velde canceled a meeting on Monday, November 30, because he hadn't read the paper yet, although he says no meeting was scheduled. At a meeting the next day, December 1, he still hadn't read it. "He'd gotten tied up over Thanksgiving and hadn't done it," says Ira Grudberg. "He was very apologetic, and he could see she was upset. That very day and night he made a lengthy review of it and met again with her on December 2, at which time he discussed it with her. She was much, much happier."
According to her parents and a close friend, however, Jovin was far from happy after that meeting. "The last time I talked to Suzanne was … on that evening, very late in the evening," the friend says. "She was still furious … and she was very insecure about what would happen." – Vanity Fair (01/16/06)

Timeline of Her Killing

Between 4:00 and 4:30 pm, Suzanne stopped by Van de Velde's office on Prospect Street to drop off a new draft that was complete except for the conclusion. She attached a cordial, handwritten note outlining her changes and thanking him. She had written neatly on the margins of page 20 of her 21-page thesis: I’m saving the conclusion for last.” Van de Velde reportedly spent most of the evening reviewing her draft.

Van de Velde reportedly takes a break and walks up the street to watch the Yale hockey game at Ingalls Rink. He then reportedly returns to his office.

Suzanne spent the early part of the evening at Trinity Lutheran Church near campus at a pizza-making party she had organized for an organization the pairs students with mentally disabled adults. She left the church sometime before 8:30 pm and then used a borrowed university car to drive other volunteers home.

(Photo source.)

She left the car in a parking lot around the corner from where she lived and then walked to the second floor of her two-story Yale-owned apartment.

Sometime between 8:30 and 8:50 pm, a group of friends passed by and saw Suzanne in her window. They asked her if she wanted to go to the movies with them, but said she was planning to work on her senior essay.

At 9:02, she emailed a friend, telling her she was leaving some books for her in her apartment lobby. She then logged off at 9:10 pm.

By 9:15, Suzanne walked to Old Campus and ran into a classmate, Peter Stein, who was out for a walk. She told him she was going to the Yale police communications center at Phelps Gate to turn in the keys to the university car. "She did not mention plans to go anywhere or do anything else afterward," Stein later said. "She just said that she was very, very tired and that she was looking forward to getting a lot of sleep."

At about 9:20, she was seen walking toward the Yale Police office at Phelps Gate (which is right around the block from the Skull & Bones building on High St.) where she turned in the keys for the borrowed Yale vehicle.

Suzanne was last seen between 9:25 and 9:30, walking north on College St. towards Elm St. The witness who says she saw her last was a student who had left the Yale-Princeton hockey game early and was walking alone to an off-campus party when she passed Suzanne.

At about 9:45 pm, witnesses claimed to have heard a man and women arguing near the corner of E. Rock & Edgehill Rd, two miles away from where Suzanne was last seen on College St.

Witness reported a brown or tan van seen parked facing east on E. Rock Rd adjacent to where Suzanne’s body was found. Police say she was driven there and appeared to have had gotten out of a vehicle, before or after having had an argument with a man.

Right before she was killed, Suzanne was heard saying, "I can't believe you're doing this!" Obviously, she was saying this to someone she knew.

Minutes later, a neighbor said she heard a woman scream five times. Police say it appears Suzanne was stabbed from behind and didn’t put up a struggle.

At about 9:58, someone called 911 to report a woman lay bleeding near the corner.

“The precise location on East Rock in New Haven where Suzanne Jovin was found, mortally wounded, on December 4, 1998” - RumorMillNews

At about 10:26 pm, Suzanne was later pronounced dead at the Yale–New Haven Hospital by her apartment.

Witness believes she saw Van de Velde

The woman who had last seen Suzanne walking on College Street at around 9:25 pm claims she saw a white man with blond hair and glasses who was “dressed nicely.” The woman later saw Van de Velde on TV and started shaking because she believes it was Van de Velde that she had seen.

Van de Velde denies killing Suzanne. He claims to have had no relationship with her, never argued, never saw her outside of class, and didn't even know where she lived. He says he took a polygraph test and passed, but in actuality, he had taken three polygraphs, but not with the police. He took them with private examiner who was a 30-year veteran of the FBI.

The first two tests he took were deemed “inconclusive” because Van de Velde was "too emotional." Van de Velde passed the third polygraph, but he was tested on whether a declaration he signed denying the murder was true. He was not directly asked whether he killed Suzanne. When he was asked if he would take another polygraph by a police examiner, Van de Velde responded: "Absolutely not.”

Professor James Adcock, a 20 year Army veteran and criminal justice, said Van de Velde is not being asked direct questions that the Professor, as an investigator, would want covered. He said Van de Velde’s polygraph tests are meaningless unless Adcock was able to validate them through another examiner. He says the reliability of the test results depends on how good the examiner is and says it’s hard to gauge the tests without seeing the list of questions.

Van de Velde has also never been officially cleared from Suzanne's murder.

What was on her thesis?

As far as I can tell, Suzanne’s thesis was never released to the public. It seems like only Van de Velde and the police know what’s on it. The New Haven Police seem to have fended off any attempt for her files to be released. The question is why? It’s been almost 10 years since her brutal murder. Don’t they want the killer(s) found?

What had Suzanne written on her thesis? She handed her new thesis draft about Osama bin Laden to her Navy Intelligence thesis advisor with very high top security Pentagon clearance and an expert on drug trafficking and Bin Laden and less than seven hours later, she winds up being stabbed 17 times by someone the police said she knew and drove her to the scene four days before her thesis was due and after she had been complaining about Van de Velde’s lack of support with her thesis, yet he had written her a glowing recommendation for graduate school in late October.

Van de Velde had given the police a copy of her thesis draft on Dec. 7, three days after her murder, when they first questioned him. Then, although unclear, Van de Velde provided the News with Suzanne's "unfinished paragraphs" which apparently doesn't seem provide any smoking guns pointing to a 9/11 government conspiracy in what the News printed:

“To ultimately defeat bin Laden in his ‘holy war’ against the United States and the non-Muslims, we must be prepared to ‘stand some more heat.’ Certainly, there is nothing to suggest that this ‘holy war’ will turn cold anytime soon.”

What is unclear about this is what exactly are these "unfinished paragraphs" that Van de Velde provided to the News? Was it Suzanne's last draft that she dropped off at his office hours before her murder and he gave to the police on Dec. 7, or was it a draft of her final conclusion? If it was a draft of her final conclusion, how in the world did Van de Velde get it when Suzanne had mention in her last handed in draft that she is "saving the conclusion for last"?

For those who believe the official 9/11 story, the connection between Suzanne’s thesis subject and Van de Velde’s Military intelligence background might seem irrelevant, but for those who are suspicious about 9/11, the connection is just too hard to get past. Suzanne’s friends say whoever killed her was "someone who knew what they were doing." 

I think I agree. Suzanne just may well have been the first victim of 9/11.

People with any information about this case are asked to call the New Haven Police Department at 1-866-888-TIPS. There is a reward of $150,000.

Those with information are encouraged to call the investigative team at this private number: (203) 676-1575, or at this email: jovincase@gmail.com


See also:


Anonymous said...

You give a very selective view on the case.
It has conclusively been proven that James Van de Velde is innocent. And you give no evidence to prove otherwise.

Readers might want to read the Wikipedia entry for the Suzanne Jovin case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzanne_Jovin_case>

spooked said...

Good find, Killtown!!!

Certainly there's no doubt the whole thing is highly fishy. Whoever denies that is a fool.

Killtown said...

The dumb JREFer above obviously can't read very well and see that I added Wikipedia's entry on Jovin:

"Suzanne Jovin case - Wikipedia"

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid, KT, that you only read what suits you. There is no evidence whatsoever against James Van de Velde!

All you do (as usual with you) is neglect all the FACTS that negate your theory, and build a case on nothing but your own obsession.

This is not the first innocent man/woman you try to accuse, btw.

Calling me dumb doesn't give any credence to this new false theory of yours.

Anonymous said...

Can we resume our debate now?

Anonymous said...

Killtown, you're talking about the same Suzanne Jovin case I saw on Wikipedia, right?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Killtown said...

Read Matrka's above comment here. (It was a little too long for here!)

spooked said...

Should also note that Yale is renowned for its links to the CIA.

Anonymous said...

You guys are so naive and funny and apathetic.

Of course a guy with such background at Yale will get cleared of pretty much anything if he's in any way involved in something.

Make him a possible member of Skull and Bones ontop of this, and he's untouchable.

Anonymous said...

I admit that we had some connections in this murder.

Anonymous said...

I'm assuming your implying that the young lady was killed because of the content of her thesis.
What I'm wondering is where would a college student get ahold of top secret or damning information? The college library?

Much less, who would take a college student thesis paper seriously?

Just asking questions.

Jung friends said...

I've been wondering about this case for years. As soon as I read about how her thesis was on Osama Bin Laden, I speculated as you have. The link between Bin Laden and what others in New Haven or Van de Velde knew should be explored, for sure.

Johann said...

James is from Orange CT.A wealthy family possibly real estate folks. There are two neighbors of his family in Orange , both had brown vans. Both groups work at Yale and have other downtown New Haven ties.
I really believe that there is another issue here.Possibly involving the Best Buddy Program and even the contributors to that entity have might ties to this "big man on campus" Jim..The student returning from the hockey game was pressured by the police , when she was James at the PD station she said ,"That's not the guy i saw walking a few yards in front of Susanne on College Street heading towards Elm Street at 9:25 or so. A taller thin blond or light brown hair white male,well dressed , with a briefcase..She says there was also a Black Hispanic tall male several yards after she passed Susanne walking in the same direction..SHE also says that she can NOT be 100 % sure that it was Susanne at all !
A brown ford van 1996 was seen by several people parked or attempting to park or half on the sidewalk,creeping towards the light on Elm street at York Street,
In front of Yankee Doodle Coffee house and then a bit closer to York - at 9:30..No request from the PD to Krausers that is located on that corner was ever made , the only store that sold Fresca, the soda bottle that was found near her body was probably purchased there.. The neighbors who reportedly heard Susanne talking or arguing state they only heard someone state that , but it can be another occupant of the van who talking to the person stabbing susanne,"I can't believe you are doing this" , possibly from the murdered student , who might have been playing dead,then gave a last effort..also a white male in his early 20's athletic build was running across whitney avenue from that direction at 9:58 -10:00pm,running behind the church and towards Everrit Street , very possibly the culprit setting off the dog barking as he ran through backyards

scout said...

We have GOT to get a copy of her total thesis.