Jovin's Parents Criticize Forensics 1998 Yale Slaying

The parents of Suzanne Jovin, the Yale undergraduate who was stabbed to death in the East Rock section of the city in 1998, criticized Tuesday what they called "shortcomings" in the state's ability to investigate major crimes.

In an open letter to Gov. M. Jodi Rell, Thomas and Donna Jovin called for more resources to help solve the slaying of their daughter and that of Yale graduate student Annie Le, whose body was found in a university building on Sunday.

"We hope that the person guilty of this terrible crime can be apprehended quickly, which was unfortunately not to be true in the case of our daughter," they wrote in a letter from Gottingen, Germany.

"During a recent visit to New Haven and consultation with the investigative team," the letter says, "... it became apparent that potential forensic investigations, made possible by significant advances in technology in the intervening decade, are not being carried out due to shortcomings in the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory. This facility, once regarded as a leading forensic unit in the country, is suffering from understaffing and inadequate funding. As a consequence, the unit is struggling to satisfy the needs of ongoing and emerging investigations, not to speak of 'cold cases' such as the murder of our daughter."

"One should not compound the tragedies of Suzanne Jovin, Annie Le and other victims by failing to apply the necessary resources for resolving the circumstances of the crimes committed against them," the letter says.

"We appeal to you, in your capacity as governor of the State of Connecticut as well as a mother and grandmother, to rectify the shortcomings of the State Lab by providing the funds and expertise, in and/or out of state, for conducting the forensic studies required to achieve these ends, specifically in the case of our daughter Suzanne."

In response to the letter, Rell said: "I want to express my deepest condolences to the family and fiance of Annie Le. There is unspeakable grief in their tragic loss. I am also very mindful of the deep pain that the Jovin family feels every day since their beloved daughter was taken from them."

In August, Rell announced that the state will use nearly $2 million from the federal stimulus package to increase the rate of DNA testing on state prison inmates and to speed up the processing of DNA samples at the Department of Public Safety's forensics laboratory in Meriden.

Part of the grant is intended to continue funding more than 10 positions at the forensics laboratory so they can process about 12,000 existing DNA samples and handle the influx of new samples.

"Our goals are simple: Solving more cases and putting more criminals away," Rell said in an August release. "We want to see more cases resolved more quickly - something that not only will bring justice to victims in a far more timely fashion but will reduce costs for the courts and the entire judicial system."