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Tuesday, September 19, 2000

09/19/00 Press reports on Margolies case prompt new leads

By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

The publication of newly released details about the murder of Glenville teenager Matthew Margolies nearly two decades ago has resulted in new and potentially valuable information, police said yesterday.

Those details, contained in a series of stories by Greenwich Time earlier this month, prompted some readers to come forward with previously unreported information about the activities of one or more suspects on Aug. 31, 1984, the day Margolies, 13, was believed to have been tortured and killed in a wooded area near the Byram River, according to police.

Police said a better understanding of a suspect's actions before and after the murder could help detectives more closely link a suspect to the crime. Few details about the new information were released.

The stories, based on 610 pages of police reports the newspaper obtained after filing a Freedom of Information Act complaint, gave the public the first detailed glimpse of the brutal nature of the murder and subsequent investigation, the most extensive Greenwich police said they had ever undertaken.

"It's generated a lot of activity for our investigators," Police Chief Peter Robbins said of the news articles. "We've gotten some new information from people we've heard from before, and other information has come from people we've never heard from."

Robbins would not be specific about the new information, except to say some of it concerned "the whereabouts at certain times" on the day of the murder of one or more of the eight suspects in the case.

The Margolies murder investigation was reactivated in March, when two detectives were assigned to the case on a full-time basis. According to Robbins, the detectives are now in the process of following up on the new information.

Greenwich Time had requested a copy of the Margolies murder case file from the Police Department in October, and when the request was denied a complaint was lodged with the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. The complaint was withdrawn in June, under an FOIC-brokered settlement, in which police agreed to release reports from the Margolies case file with suspects' names and other information deemed crucial for the investigation blacked out.

Although heavily edited, it is clear from the released police reports the investigation has focused on the following suspects:

A 32-year-old maintenance worker and suspected pedophile who a year before Margolies was murdered allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old male jogger in the woods along the Byram River.

A 16-year-old boy known as a neighborhood bully who knew the victim and had roughed up Margolies weeks before the murder. He was arrested a month before Margolies was murdered for allegedly assaulting another 13-year-old boy, and had pulled a knife on another neighborhood boy in an incident that went unreported.

A 16-year-old occasional fishing companion of Margolies who once told someone that he would like to "ditch that little bastard," and whose activities the day of the murder have been questioned by detectives.

A 17-year-old boy from Margolies' neighborhood who was thought to have had a revenge motive because he blamed the victim for telling police about marijuana plants he had grown and was subsequently arrested.

A 38-year-old man who worked in Glenville who might have been familiar with the victim and whose activities shortly after the murder were viewed as suspicious.

A suspected pedophile in his late 20s who drove a red pick-up truck similar to one witnesses said they saw near the crime scene just prior to Margolies' murder.

A 47-year-old man who had aroused the suspicion of state police while being questioned about a series of shootings along Interstate 95.

A man in his 50s who lived in Margolies' neighborhood and had a history of criminal violence.

Saturday, September 16, 2000

09/16/00 Series renews talk of Margolies murder

By Cameron D. Martin - Greenwich Time

Sixteen years ago, residents regularly came together at Pemberwick X-Change to share information and commiserate in the wake of the murder of 13-year-old Matthew Margolies.

Last week, after publication of a four-part Greenwich Time series on the search for the boy, the discovery of his murder, and the investigation that followed, the unsolved murder was once again the focus of talk at the Pemberwick Road deli, as regulars discussed information previously unknown to them, according to owner Steve Pugliese.

"Everybody was trying to pull things from their memory banks, to see if they could make any new connections," said Pugliese, 47, who lives on Pemberwick Road, about one mile south of where Matthew's mutilated body was discovered on a wooded hillside Sept. 5, 1984.

Copies of last week's newspaper series sold out quickly at his store each morning, Pugliese said, as he and others read about previously unknown aspects of the story.

"I thought three suspects, not eight," said Pugliese, who thought he had gone to school with one of the suspects, who were described but not named by police. "I don't think anyone was aware there were that many suspects they could build a solid case against. It would seem they all had a means and a motive."

Greenwich police have said that is one of the reasons the case is so difficult to solve.

Matthew, well-known in his close-knit western Greenwich neighborhood known as "The Valley," disappeared Aug. 31, 1984. His body was discovered five days later beneath a pile of rocks, branches and leaves in a wooded area about a mile from his Pilgrim Drive home. He had been stripped to his undershorts, stabbed over a dozen times with a knife, and suffocated with dirt that was forced down his throat.

The brutal slaying of the teenager shocked the seemingly safe neighborhood and began a massive investigation. No arrests were made nor was a prime suspect publicly named. In recent years, the investigation slowed as all leads were exhausted and no new information developed.

Greenwich Time sought to take an in-depth look at the file in order to present a detailed, public summary of the case and the investigation. An agreement for release of the file was reached through the office of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission, and Greenwich Police opened much of the file while keeping some names and details confidential to protect its investigation.

In last week's four-part series, the description of eight suspects was made available to the public for the first time. Along with details of the brutal murder, the list of suspects, although they were nameless, heightened awareness of the crime within the Pemberwick community, Pugliese said.

No new information in the Margolies case has been announced by Greenwich police since the conclusion of the series, and Police Chief Peter Robbins did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

Yet reference to the case by renowned criminal forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee during a speech at Greenwich High School Monday, and other information - mostly in the form of sentiments and condolences posted on the Margolies Web site - keeps the case fresh in the minds of residents.

"My daughter was over at Hay Day (Country Market) in Riverside last week, and there were some people there who were talking about it, and commenting about how they didn't know the whole case had gone to the extent that it had," Judy Moretti, 58, a longtime Pemberwick resident, said Wednesday. "I think most people outside our neighborhood remembered it as a kid missing, not what came afterwards."

On Monday, Dr. Lee told a Greenwich High School crowd that trace evidence found at the scene of Matthew Margolies' murder could yield a connection to a suspect. Lee, who until April served as Connecticut's public safety commissioner and has been involved in the renewed investigation through his work at the state crime lab, declined to say what that evidence might be.

"What was found at the murder site I call trace or transfer evidence," Lee said Monday. "Sometimes that can be very good and you can make a connection. But I can't really discuss any active case."

Town residents, from Pemberwick in particular, need time to absorb the information made available to them recently, Moretti said.

"It's been a good wake-up call for the public," Moretti said. "I think we have to sift through things and see if anyone remembers anything."

Matthew Margolies' mother, Maryann, said Wednesday that in the past week she has received numerous messages posted on the Web site devoted to the case of her son's murder, www.MatthewMargolies.com. The public, she said, is more aware of the case since the recent release of information.

"I think that there's a heightened awareness in the general public of what's happened, and that's good," Margolies said. "I certainly remain optimistic to come to some sort of closure on this and intend to see things through."

One message posted to the Web site, from a Greenwich woman named "Lisa," reads: "We all need to back off the Greenwich Police Department a little bit. I am sure though it is 16 years later, that they have a pretty good idea as to who murdered Matthew. I think they just lack the evidence.

"With forensic science as it is today, they may already be running tests they were not able to do in 1984. Trust in the fact that there are people out there who know things the tiniest things that may help and trust that they are speaking up.

"Trust that the Greenwich Police Department are the only ones who can help Maryann now the only ones who can avenge Matthew's death. Let's pray for the Greenwich Police Department as well and wish the nightmare to its end."

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

09/12/00 Dr. Henry Lee gives forensic, life lessons

By Martin B. Cassidy - Greenwich Time

Trace evidence found at the scene of 13-year-old Matthew Margolies' murder could yield a connection to a suspect, renowned criminal forensic scientist Dr. Henry Lee last night told a crowd gathered at Greenwich High School.

Lee was referring to the brutal, unsolved murder of Pemberwick teenager Matthew Margolies on Aug. 31, 1984. The investigation into the slaying has been renewed by Greenwich police and has involved the examination of trace evidence by Lee, who until April served as Connecticut's public safety commissioner. Lee last night declined to say what that evidence might be.

Lee's presentation was the kickoff of the fall Greenwich Continuing Education program, and attracted about 150 residents, police officers and crime buffs.

"What was found at the murder site I call trace or transfer evidence," Lee said. "Sometimes that can be very good and you can make a connection. But I can't really discuss an active case."

Lee's comments came at the start of a biographical presentation at Greenwich High School. Lee, who was not paid for his appearance, was selected to give the address because of his role in advancements in the use of forensic DNA testing in solving crimes.

Lee, 61, retired from his state post to focus on the more than 800 open murder investigations he is assisting in nationwide. He maintains the title of chief emeritus with the state and still works in the state lab in Meriden.

With considerable humor, Lee last night narrated a slide show that touched on his early family life and police career in China; his favorite sayings and axioms; and his forensic career, including his testimony during the O.J. Simpson murder trial and his contribution to the Jon Benet Ramsey murder investigation.

Lee was born into a wealthy family in Taiwan in 1938 during a Communist uprising in China. After his family was stripped of its possessions, his father drowned under mysterious circumstances, leaving his mother to raise 13 children.

Unable to afford college tuition, Lee said he enrolled in Taiwan's police academy, graduating at the top of his class and becoming the youngest police captain in China at the age of 22.

"I cheated on all my exams. If you finished at the top of your class you were made a captain," Lee said to laughter. "My mother has always pushed me to work harder. I don't know how she did it, but we all got our educations."

Wanting to learn more about criminal science, Lee came to New York City and worked three jobs to pay for classes at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and to earn a doctorate in biochemistry from New York University. Lee said during this period he worked, studied or went to class 18 to 20 hours a day, typing all his term papers on a toy typewriter and giving kung fu lessons to earn extra cash.

Throughout last night's presentation, Lee called on audience members to answer science questions and rewarded correct answers with plastic Connecticut state trooper badges.

"In this world there are two ways to make it," Lee said. "One is to be named Rockefeller or Kennedy. The other is to work hard. It's not surprising which one I chose."

Lee ruefully joked about the calls he receives in the middle of the night when he would rather sleep, and showed a disturbing photograph of a man who died of a drug overdose to remind the audience of the value of life.

"If this man had another chance, he would probably say he wouldn't do drugs," Lee said. "Sometimes God only gives us one chance. We must teach children to cherish life."

Greenwich High School junior Joshua Mertz, 16, attended Lee's lecture and said he will take an introductory forensic science course next semester.

"I wish we had more talks like this during school," Mertz said. "I was pretty surprised at how funny it was. When I heard he was coming here to speak, I just had to go."

Greenwich Police Officer Pier Corticelli said he was struck by Lee's emphasis on striving for excellence.

"It makes you want to work harder and do better," Corticelli said. "The talk gave you a lot of history and personality."

Although retired, Lee said he still works 17-hour days because he loves criminal forensics. Lee closed the evening by telling the audience to be successful they must balance hard work, family and friends, and their spirituality.

"The master of the art of living is the man who makes his work his play and keeps his labor the same as his leisure," Lee said.

Monday, September 11, 2000


To The Editor Of The Greenwich Time.

Dear Mr. Pisani:

I would like to acknowledge the Greenwich Time in their efforts to report the material made available to them by the Greenwich Police Department through the Freedom of Information Commission.

Deserving of special recognition is Joe Johnson, staff reporter. He has demonstrated great sensitivity not only towards Matthew as a person, but also toward us, Matthew's family.

In reporting the information at hand, a sense of dignity has been maintained. It is this dignity which is of so much importance to me as Matthew's mother.

I hold great pride in being a member of such a caring community. And it is also
reassuring to know that our local newspaper exhibits such fine journalism.

I am forever and always,

Matthew's Mom
September 10, 2000

Saturday, September 9, 2000

09/08/00 Analysis of a homicide investigation; where does the Matthew Margolies murder case go from here?

Police look for break in unsolved case
By Cameron Martin - Greenwich Time

Though the 1984 murder of Matthew Margolies remains unsolved, investigators need look no further than the case of Martha Moxley to know breaks can come years, even decades, after a crime is committed.

Retired Greenwich police Chief William Andersen, who initially headed the Margolies murder investigation as captain of detectives, says the recent developments in the Moxley murder case should hearten investigators frustrated by the Margolies slaying.

Andersen, who retired more than a decade ago, retains hope Matthew's murder will be solved and says his thoughts return regularly to the horrific crime committed Labor Day Weekend 1984.

Still, after 16 years, and countless leads and investigative interviews, Andersen and other officers familiar with the case say they share that common emotion: frustration.

"I certainly hope whoever is responsible, that it's weighing on their minds as much as the investigators,' " Andersen said.

Most Greenwich Police officers who were on the force in 1984, or have investigated the murder since, never knew Matthew Margolies. Lt. Ralph LoBalbo is an exception.

A patrolman assigned to the Glenville section of town from 1981 to 1986, LoBalbo was a familiar face to residents of Pemberwick, areas of which Matthew often fished with his grandfather, George Miazga.

Miazga, a longtime volunteer with the Glenville Fire Department, frequented the firehouse, often with his grandson in tow. LoBalbo said he knew them both, if only to say "hey."

"I knew who Matthew was, I knew he liked to go fishing," LoBalbo said. "When it was reported he was missing, I was concerned; he didn't seem the type of kid who would just run away."

Though officers say they considered the possibility that Matthew was distraught over the death of his grandfather, who died two weeks before Matthew's Aug. 31 disappearance, or, that he may have accidentally fallen into the water by one of his numerous fishing holes, they nevertheless say the search for a missing person was soon displaced by a notion of something more sinister.

"There was a collective thought throughout the community that something happened to the kid," LoBalbo said.

The night his mother reported him missing, even then Youth Officer Stephen Paulo suspected something far worse.

"When she called a little concerned, saying it was getting dark, I went right over," Paulo remembers. "It was a gut feeling with me."

Paulo said he immediately called the on-duty lieutenant and said, "Something's wrong with this."

From Aug. 31 until the afternoon of Sept. 5, Paulo, as youth officer, led the search for 13-year-old Matthew Margolies.

Scheduled to take a sergeant's exam the evening of Sept. 5, Paulo soon found his mind focused far from the prospect of promotion.

Notified in the afternoon that a body had been found in a wooded area on a hill overlooking Pemberwick Road, Paulo recalled, "I said, 'Well, let's go out and look.' "

Three weeks ago Paulo retraced the route he and other officers took Sept. 5, 1984.

"This was all undeveloped, all woods," he said, pointing to the apartment complex at 351 Pemberwick Road, just north of the crime scene.

Down the road a bit, hiking uphill through underbrush that has grown in since 1984, Paulo tried to recall the exact spot where Matthew's body was found.

What came to mind, instead, was the brutality of the crime scene.

Paulo had been searching the area with Fred Lambert and fellow Youth Officer Michael Panza. Lambert was the man who discovered the shoe and later the body of Matthew Margolies.

"After we saw the shoe, we said, 'Do you smell that?' I mean, you could smell (the decomposing body)," Paulo grimly recalls. "We knew we were close by."

And they were.

"Lambert says, 'Oh god,' " Paulo said. "Then we froze everything off."

There would be no sergeant's exam for Paulo on Sept. 5, 1984, as Greenwich Police undertook the investigation of the brutal mutilation murder of a 13-year-old boy.

"I was too wound up, (the investigation) meant a lot to me. I said, 'I'll take it next time.' "

Instead he was among the officers present when Maryann Margolies was told the fate of her only son and youngest child.

"I stayed there at the house for two days with her afterwards," he said.

Emotionally, officers have stayed with the case much longer. Though the two original detectives assigned to investigate the murder would not comment for this article, one of them, retired Detective Richard Haug, said in a May 1998 interview with Greenwich Time: "This case really affected me mentally - that a 13-year-old boy was brutally slain - and I really regretted it when I retired that we weren't able to solve it."

Andersen said he thinks about the Matthew Margolies case regularly,

"He's been in my prayers every Sunday since 1984," he said. "I'll never forget him, though I never met him."

Andersen now manages security for a local corporation. He was promoted to deputy chief soon after the murder and later rose to police chief - a path paralleled by present Police Chief Peter Robbins, who took over as captain of the detectives division after Andersen's promotion in Oct. 1984.

Round-the-clock commitment to the case equaled months of sleepless nights, the two recall.

The atmosphere was hectic at the police department in the months following the murder, Robbins said.

"We worked straight for four months, right through the holidays," he recalls. "We suffered a lot of frustration. We had 40 to 50 leads that looked like they had some potential. As you explored them, in time, they dissipated.

"We suffered a great deal of frustration, but you'd keep at it. We weren't sleeping much. It was 16- to 20-hour days right through the holidays that year. After we had just enough sleep we'd just get right back into it again."

The FBI drafted a psychological profile of the murderer of Matthew Margolies, concluding the assailant was someone familiar with the victim and the Pemberwick area. Robbins said the police department has conducted hundreds of interviews with that area's residents since 1984.

Is it likely the murderer was interviewed by police?

"It's possible," Robbins said. "I couldn't say with 100 percent certainty. We conducted hundreds and hundreds of interviews during the course of the investigation."

Confidence in finding the perpetrator has ebbed and flowed within the police department in the last 16 years, Robbins said. Right now he is balancing optimism with pessimism.

"I probably have a mixed feeling of confidence now. Unless some witness can come forth to point us in a particular direction, it's difficult to focus on a particular suspect, or suspects, but that doesn't mean we give up.

"We did everything that could possibly be done at that time, but it just didn't pull anything out of the woodwork, so to speak."

A Stamford judge recently decided Michael Skakel should stand trial for the 1975 slaying of Martha Moxley, both of whom were 15 years old at the time.

The judge's decision hinged upon the testimony of residents of an alcohol rehabilitation clinic Skakel attended in the years following the murder. Witnesses for the prosecution allege Skakel admitted to the murder, and a Juvenile Matters judge concluded there was enough evidence to proceed to trial, though it has yet to be determined whether the matter will be heard in juvenile or adult court.

Andersen said developments in the Moxley murder case, nearly a quarter century after the crime, provide hope that someone, "or someones," will ultimately be charged with the murder of Matthew Margolies.

"I have faith that someday it will be solved. The case is not going to go away. With the right breaks it will be solved.

"In situations like this you have to have faith, and I certainly do. I think we only need look into the recent past to see that that happens. Old cases are broken all the time."

Friday, September 8, 2000

09/08/00 16 years later, family waits for justice

By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

Stella Miazga turned 84 last Friday, but she didn't really celebrate.

Sitting in the living room of her house on Morgan Avenue, the woman cheerfully accepted the love and best wishes of three generations of family that surrounded her - but real joy was not in her heart.

That's pretty much how it's been each of the 16 birthdays Miazga has observed since Sept. 1, 1984 - one day after 13-year-old grandson Matthew Margolies was reported missing, and four days before his mutilated body would be found in the woods up the road from Miazga's house.

"I miss Matthew terribly, and I wish he was here. I think about him all the time," Miazga said. "This (the murder) puts a real damper on my birthday. I just don't want to celebrate it."

When he was alive, Matthew was a constant presence in the Miazga household. Living just a few blocks away, on Pilgrim Drive, Matthew would always drop by the Miazgas, usually to go fishing with grandfather George. After George Miazga was diagnosed with cancer, Matthew began making extra visits to help care for his grandfather, who succumbed to his illness two weeks before Matthew was murdered.

"He was such a loving child," Stella Miazga said. "He cared for his grandfather when I went to work. Matthew would make his grandfather's breakfast and make sure he took his medication."

Miazga, who is in her 31st year as receptionist for the Greenwich-Laurelton Nursing & Convalescent Home, vowed: "I won't rest until the person who did this to Matthew is found."

The murder has gone unsolved this long not for lack of trying by authorities. The 610 pages of the Margolies case file recently obtained by Greenwich Time chronicle the most intensive criminal investigation ever undertaken by the Greenwich Police Department, an exhaustive effort to track down a sadistic killer who tortured, repeatedly stabbed, strangled and forced dirt and a stick down his victim's throat.

Police reports show how the investigation was guided by an FBI profiler, and physical evidence recovered at the crime scene was analyzed by one of the nation's preeminent forensic scientists, Dr. Henry Lee. Detectives canvassed the victim's neighborhood, known as The Valley - a working-class neighborhood along the banks of the Byram River in the Pemberwick section of Glenville - where they knocked on countless doors and interviewed hundreds of people looking for witnesses and possible leads.

Despite those efforts, the investigation does not appear to have resulted even in a circumstantial case against the killer or killers.

Police said they have eight "key suspects," but lack any evidence that directly links any of them to the Aug. 31, 1984 murder.

But both police and members of the Margolies family have found a new sense of optimism from an arrest earlier this year in another long-unsolved Greenwich murder case. The investigation of the 1975 Martha Moxley homicide, which culminated with the Jan. 19 arrest of former Moxley neighbor Michael Skakel, had been sustained for many years by circumstantial evidence that pointed toward members of Skakel's family.

"It certainly gives me hope in the justice system," Maryann Margolies, Matthew's mother, said of Skakel's arrest. "It's not that I've ever lost hope, it's just that (the arrest) shows that anything's possible."

Skakel, now 39, was one of the last persons seen with 15-year-old Moxley prior to her murder the evening of Oct. 30, 1975. The murder weapon was identified as a 6-iron from a set of golf clubs owned by Skakel's family, who lived across the street from the Moxleys in the town's Belle Haven neighborhood.

Those circumstances, coupled with alleged incriminating statements Skakel made years later, led to a Superior Court judge's finding last month that sufficient evidence exists for Skakel to stand trial.

As in the Moxley case, the weapon used to torture and murder Matthew Margolies was recovered at the crime scene - a 10 inch Foster Brothers knife, commonly used for de-boning fish and poultry. Police say they have been unable to determine where the knife came from, and have therefore been unable to begin circumstantially linking the weapon's owner to the crime.

Determining ownership of the knife would give police one of the three legs of a case - the means to commit murder, with the other two being opportunity and motive. Some of the key suspects appeared to have established solid alibis for their whereabouts when Matthew was killed, and so would apparently not have had an opportunity to commit the crime.

Whether all of the suspects had alibis that withstood scrutiny could not be determined from the heavily edited pages of the Margolies murder case file that were released.

And as for motive, the released reports appear to show that only one of the key suspects may have had a reason to murder Matthew - the 17-year-old neighborhood boy who was arrested for growing marijuana and apparently blamed Matthew for tipping off the police. This suspect also had been familiar with the hillside crime scene area, according to police, as he had also been arrested once for rolling logs from there into traffic on Pemberwick Road below.

The psychological profile the FBI developed a month after the murder concluded that Matthew's killer was familiar with the crime scene area and felt comfortable being there while committing the crime.

But that profile, a product of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, also provides another possible motive for the crime, one that could only be found deep within the killer's mind. The profile speculates the murder had been sexually motivated: while torturing Matthew, who had been stripped to his under shorts, and shoving dirt and a stick down the victim's throat while still alive, the killer was acting out a sexual fantasy.

Officials said that this type of killer would likely strike again. But according to Police Chief Peter Robbins, "No similar crimes have been committed anywhere else, so we're even more confident the murderer lived, and possibly still lives, locally."

Other than means, motive and opportunity, police would be able to make a case from physical evidence other than the murder weapon found at the crime scene. But this avenue of investigation was severely limited by the fact Matthew's body went undiscovered for five days.

"From the outset of the investigation we had complexities," Robbins lamented. "We had no eyewitnesses. The body wasn't located immediately, which hampered us. The elements - extreme heat and rain - had an impact on what trace evidence was left at the crime scene."

Trace evidence can be anything left at a crime scene by the killer, including hair, fibers, and bodily fluids. A medical examiner's report indicates fingernail scrapings and hairs were removed from Matthew's body during the autopsy.

"There were a number of hairs and fibers, et cetera," Robbins said. "But the crime scene was a literal dump, and it was contaminated by wild and domestic animals, so distinguishing what came from where was nearly impossible."

The hillside crime scene was behind a group of homes on Greenway Drive, where appliances, mattresses and other household refuse had been discarded.

There were other problems early on as well. A 1986 critique by a paid consultant praised the Police Department for a thorough and largely competent investigation, but it also noted the following missteps:

Despite indications Margolies' disappearance might be due to foul play, a detective was not assigned to the case until after the boy's body was found. This meant six days of investigative opportunities were lost.

Only one detective was given the opportunity to view the crime scene while it remained intact, which placed severe limits on different perspectives that could be brought to bear.

When officers were given assignments to assist with the homicide investigation, explanations of what those assignments meant to the probe were not given;

Sensitive information was given to the press, decreasing the amount of information that would only be known solely by Margolies' murderer, a crucial element when questioning suspects.

The new push in the Margolies case began in earnest in March of this year, when Sgt. Timothy Duff, who had recently completed specialized training in cold case investigations, and Detective Gary Hoffkins started re-interviewing witnesses and suspects. Assisting them is Richard Haug, a retired Greenwich detective and one of the original lead Margolies case investigators, who has been retained as a consultant. All three investigators declined comment.

In the year leading up to active stage of the re-investigation, in which much preliminary work was done, police had trace evidence re-examined by forensic scientists for possible DNA identification. They have not disclosed what, if any, results those efforts have produced. In fact, none of the reports generated by the current re-investigation were released to Greenwich Time.

The emergence of new physical evidence notwithstanding, police have not placed all of their eggs in the basket of forensic science.

"I don't want to leave the impression that this is the only opportunity we have to bring this case to a successful conclusion," Deputy Chief James Walters of the Criminal Investigations Division said of the new round of laboratory testing.

Another potential solution to the Margolies murder mystery could come in the form of an admission someone may have made concerning the murder. Having already had somewhat of a circumstantial case against Michael Skakel, it was only after people began coming forward with recollections of admissions to the Martha Moxley murder that authorities sought the grand jury that ultimately issued a report that was used to obtain an arrest warrant.

The Margolies investigators are hoping for a similar break.

"The murderer could have made a slip or established a relationship with someone who has seen or heard him do or say something unusual that could implicate him," Robbins said.

The police chief added, "Relationships change through the years. Some people may be more willing to talk about an individual now because they've taken separate paths than people they were once friends with."

Maryann Margolies met with the investigators last month, and nothing she heard changed her belief that Matthew's killer will someday be identified and brought to justice.

"I met with them as recently as the 31st of August and was updated on the investigation," the 59-year-old Pemberwick woman said. "I remain optimistic that at some point we will find some form of closure."

Maryann Margolies said she suggested specific ways she believed she and her family could assist the investigation, but she declined to say what they were.

Also attending the meeting with Greenwich police was Greenwich attorney Thomas J. Williams, who has been retained by the Margolies family to provide legal advice pertaining to Matthew's case.

"It is unfortunate that this horrific crime has remained unsolved for 16 years because Matthew and his family are entitled to justice," Williams said. "In our recent meeting with the Greenwich Police Department, the department confirmed to us its determination to pursue this case and bring it to a resolution. I am hopeful that determination will continue until such time that there is an arrest."

With success, Greenwich police may be able to lessen the pain Stella Miazga feels on her future birthdays.

"My hopes are we can bring this to a successful conclusion," Robbins said. "But it's not going to be easy. It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of work."

Thursday, September 7, 2000

09/07/00 The hunt for a killer begins

Clues abound, but murder is still a mystery
Part 3 of a 4 part Series
By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

How and where does one begin to look for someone who would torture, repeatedly stab, strangle and shove dirt down a young boy's throat?

With no eyewitnesses, no hard evidence and a crime scene already five days old, Greenwich detectives must have been asking themselves that very question as they began their search for 13-year-old Matthew Margolies' killer.

In the 610 pages of the 1984 Margolies murder case file recently released to Greenwich Time, it seems apparent that detectives made an exhaustive effort. They were guided by an FBI profiler, and what little physical evidence they recovered was examined by one of the nation's preeminent forensic scientists, Dr. Henry Lee, then the director of the Connecticut Forensic Science Laboratory. They even reached into outer space hoping to be aided by NASA satellites, and reached out further still in accepting the help of clairvoyants.

But what the released portions of the voluminous case file shows most of all is that the detectives wore out a lot of shoe leather in their reliance on old-fashioned police work.

In the days after Matthew's brutalized body was found in a shallow grave off Pemberwick Road, police canvassed the victim's neighborhood, known as The Valley - a working-class neighborhood along the banks of the Byram River in the Pemberwick section of Glenville - where they knocked on countless doors and interviewed hundreds of people looking for witnesses and possible leads.

A week after the murder, on the afternoon of Sept. 7, a roadblock was set up on Pemberwick Road below the crime scene where 512 motorists were questioned about whether they had been driving that stretch of roadway the day of the murder - Aug. 31, 1984 - and what they might have seen.

A month after the murder, having found no one with an obvious motive for killing Matthew, police turned to the FBI for guidance. Special Agent John Douglas of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit viewed autopsy and crime scene photographs to formulate this psychological profile of the killer: a white male who was a "classic loser with poor self-image," probably overweight with a skin problem and poor hygiene, and a sloppy dresser.

The profile states the murderer probably knew Matthew and was familiar with the crime scene area; that he enjoyed associating with younger people to achieve a "feeling of superiority," and likely had been counseled for anti-social behavior. Further, the profile states, the murderer possibly had a drug or alcohol problem and may have driven an older, well-maintained vehicle.

Guided primarily by the FBI profile, police went to work scouring The Valley for possible suspects, especially known pedophiles. One of those was a man who lived not far from Matthew and had molested a newspaper delivery boy 10 years earlier. The man, who told detectives the molestation had been a "one-time incident" that occurred while he was experiencing emotional problems, had left with his wife for vacation at about 5 p.m. on Aug. 31, 1984, at least one hour before police believe Matthew was murdered. He was ruled out as a suspect.

Investigators would travel many such avenues for years after the murder, most of which went nowhere or to a dead end. For example, there was a 17-year-old girl from Norwalk who in 1987 told police her former boyfriend from Glenville "on more than one occasion stated that he killed Matthew," and that he "also said that the cops would never be able to prove it." According to police, the girl's boyfriend was never a viable suspect because the apparently incriminating statements were just some of the bizarre things he would say while drunk or high on cocaine.

Despite the false leads and dashed hopes, detectives did settle on eight people as their key suspects. Although heavily edited, with suspects' names and other crucial information blacked out, the recently released police records show how and why the following were suspected of murder:

The first to be questioned was Suspect A, a 32-year-old maintenance worker who lived near the crime scene and was a suspected pedophile. The first interview of Suspect A was done two days before Matthew's body was even found, on Sept. 3, 1984, as police were operating under the assumption the boy was missing as a result of foul play and wanted to speak with likely suspects.

As detectives approached Suspect A outside his home, the first thing he said to them was, "Is this about Matthew?" He then was asked "if he was involved in any way in the disappearance or had knowledge of the disappearance of Matthew Margolies." Suspect A answered no to both questions, explaining he was not even in town Aug. 31, having gone with a group to a baseball doubleheader at Shea Stadium in New York City. Detectives spent more than a year tracking down others who were at the baseball game, and Suspect A's alibi appeared to hold up.

Suspect A had been looked at with even greater suspicion after Matthew's body was found because of an incident that occurred about a year earlier.

According to reports, a 16-year-old boy planning to try out for the Greenwich High School cross country team was in training on a trail along the Byram River the afternoon of Sept. 4, 1983, when he stopped to cool his feet in the water. At that time, Suspect A emerged from the bushes and struck up a conversation about nature and the boy's schooling. Feeling uneasy, the boy began to walk away when Suspect A knocked him to the ground, got on top of him and while grabbing the boy's neck said, "Don't try to stop me, it'll be over soon."

Suspect A loosened his hold when the victim kicked him in the groin, at which time the victim got to his feet and held his assailant at bay with a large rock. Suspect A reportedly apologized, saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do this." The boy ran away and flagged down a motorist who drove him to the hospital.

Co-workers and other acquaintances told of how Suspect A had an unusual fascination with the Byram River, where he would often go to take photographs. Such statements, along with the 1983 alleged assault, led detectives to believe Suspect A was familiar with areas where Matthew fished and therefore had the opportunity to encounter the victim.

Suspect A had agreed to a polygraph examination, but the test was later canceled by the suspect's attorney.

Another early focus of the investigation was Suspect B, a 16-year-old boy who was known as a neighborhood bully and had been arrested a month before Matthew's murder for assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

During the alleged assault, police said, Suspect B grabbed the victim around the neck and forced him into a bathroom, where he threw the boy onto the floor, sat on his back and repeatedly struck him. Police said the older teen then told the victim to lie if asked about his injuries.

Police reports show that a neighborhood youth told officers that Suspect B had "hurt" Matthew at a school bus stop two weeks before the murder, and in interviews detectives said their investigation determined Matthew had been pushed by Suspect B because of a comment Matthew had made.

Another factor making Suspect B particularly interesting to police was that he lived near the crime scene - an area where a steep hill briefly flattens on its ascent from Pemberwick Road toward Greenway Drive. Discarded household appliances and other refuse made it clear the area was used as a dump by residents of the neighborhood above. Beer cans and rocks layered with soot from campfires indicated the place had also been a hangout of sorts.

And although it does not appear in the released reports, police confirmed in interviews that Suspect B allegedly pulled a knife on another neighborhood youth about a year before Matthew's murder.

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Sept. 5, about seven hours after Matthew's body was found, detectives went to the restaurant where Suspect B worked. He was read his Miranda rights and accompanied detectives to the police station, where he denied involvement in the murder.

During an interrogation that lasted nearly three hours, Suspect B related the following:

He saw Matthew the afternoon of Aug. 30, the day before the murder, while the suspect was swimming in the Byram River by the Comly Avenue bridge and the victim was on a nearby sidewalk. After emerging from the river to walk to a friend's house, Suspect B and Matthew "talked for a few minutes and the victim told him that he had been fishing during the day with a couple of friends."

Suspect B said he last saw the victim at about 9:30 a.m. the next day, Aug. 31, approximately nine hours before the murder, while on the way to Sparta Deli. "(Suspect B) was riding his bicycle across the Comly Avenue bridge and at that time observed the victim leaning on the bridge fishing. Once again they exchanged greetings, and (Suspect B) stated that he rode away."

After detectives drove Suspect B back to his home at 2 a.m. Sept. 6, his parents consented to a search of their residence. "Said search elicited no items of evidentiary nature," one of the detectives reported.

Suspect B's whereabouts at the time of the murder were verified by his work time card - which showed he punched in at 4:09 p.m. and punched out at 10:40 p.m. - as well as by co-workers.

Also closely examined during the investigation were members of the so-called Valley Boys, neighborhood youths who hung out near the corner of Morgan and Comly avenues, particularly in front of Sparta Deli. Police said some of the youths, who were in their mid- to late teens, were involved in illegal drug activity and petty crime. Several were outside the deli when Matthew was last seen at about 5:30 p.m. Aug. 31, 1984, and one or more of them could have been in the car that Matthew may have been seen entering before he disappeared.

Many neighborhood youths, including some of the Valley Boys, went to a party at the home of a teenage girl that lasted from early the evening of Aug. 31 until early the next morning. Detectives spent many hours questioning partygoers about whether any of the Valley Boys had said or done anything unusual in the hours after Matthew had been murdered.

The first of the Valley Boys to undergo scrutiny was Suspect C, a 16-year-old who occasionally fished with Matthew along the Byram River.

On the day Matthew was reported missing, Suspect C told police that he and another friend were to have met Matthew that morning to go fishing, but Matthew never showed up. Suspect C later changed his story, telling detectives he hadn't gone fishing with Matthew not because the victim failed to show up at the Comly Avenue bridge as planned, but because he and his friend had decided to "ditch the little bastard."

When Suspect C's friend was questioned, the friend stated that "at no time did he and (Suspect C) ever discuss ditching Matthew on Aug. 31, 1984," and "didn't understand why (Suspect C) would make such a statement."

As was the case with other suspects, Suspect C was questioned in a detective bureau interrogation room where police had arrayed such evidence as autopsy photographs, the knife that was used to stab Matthew, and the large rock used to conceal Matthew's body. During the October 1984 interview, Suspect C "reacted very badly in that he turned his back to the table on which the pieces of evidence were located, and he faced a blank wall."

When asked if he could identify the knife, the investigator handed it to him but he would not touch it. However, he did say he thought he had seen it somewhere before but could not remember where.

When asked what bothered him about the evidence, Suspect C replied, "It brings back old or bad memories." When asked to explain, police said Suspect C replied that "Matthew was a good friend of his and he didn't want to remember him like that."

A search warrant was executed at Suspect's C's home in early November 1984, leading to the seizure of over a dozen items, eight of which were sent to the state forensic science lab for testing. Descriptions of the seized evidence were blacked out from the released reports.

Another Valley Boy, 17-year-old Suspect D, is thought to have a possible revenge motive for killing Matthew. During the homicide investigation, detectives interviewed a Morgan Avenue woman who recalled talking with Matthew's grandfather in George Miazga's driveway shortly before his death. "George started yelling at the Valley Boys that he and Matt had found their marijuana plants and that they told the police where they were," the woman told detectives. The woman related she then "told George that he should have never said that to the boys because it might cause problems for both him and Matt." Suspect D was arrested for growing the marijuana prior to the murder, detectives said in interviews.

Matthew has been described as an outspoken critic of drug users, and would lecture some of the Valley Boys about the danger of substance abuse. One 13-year-old friend of the victim told detectives that "Matt was somewhat of a wise guy and that he was not afraid to tell people off if he got mad at them."

In September 1985, police obtained a warrant allowing them to search Suspect D's home and his person. Seven items - also blacked out in the released reports - were seized during the search of the suspect's dwelling, outdoor shed and vehicle. Assistant State Medical Examiner Arkady Katsnelson accompanied detectives to examine Suspect D for possible wounds and was intrigued about scars he saw. "Dr. Katsnelson related two of the scars were interesting, and one on (Suspect D's) right shoulder appeared to have been caused by a fingernail," the detectives reported. "Dr. Katsnelson advised that the wounds were healed and further, that they could be two months to a year old or possibly older."

Police said Suspect D also was familiar with the area where Matthew's body was found, having once been arrested for rolling logs from that area into traffic on Pemberwick Road.

In interviews, detectives said that if a Valley Boy had committed the crime, they believed it likely two of them had been involved. What may have begun as an attempt at intimidating or bullying Matthew could have quickly spiraled out of control, they said.

In one scenario developed by detectives, Matthew screamed during the confrontation, and when a hand over the mouth failed to quiet him, dirt was shoved into his mouth and he died. The stab wounds and marks may then have been used either as a means to make it look like the work of a psychopath, or to ensure that the boy was dead.

Detectives said that if that scenario was to be believed, then two teenagers may have been involved in the killing because, among other reasons they would not reveal, a rock that had been placed atop Matthew's body was so large it might have taken two youths to lift it.

The woods where police believe Matthew was murdered, and where his body was found, is on the side of a steep hillside that was littered with household refuse discarded by people living on top of the hill. The hill flattened out a bit in the area of the makeshift grave, a secluded spot where they might smoke and drink without being seen.

Among evidence collected from the crime scene was an audio cassette, the description of which was deleted from the released reports. Believing the tape was possibly significant, detectives bought a copy of the tape at a local music store and read the lyrics that came with it.

"At this time investigators could only remark that it is contemporary music listened to by today's teenagers," a detective wrote. "At this point, we could not determine whether the tape is cultist or whether it belongs to a racial group or any other particular group of listeners."

A teenager who had moved out of The Valley shortly before the murder was questioned about rumors he was a Satanist, but detectives determined he had only been a fan of the Black Sabbath rock group and ruled him out as a suspect.

Suspect E had been an early focus of the investigation because he not only knew the area where Matthew's body was found, but certain of his actions near the crime scene on Sept. 5, 1984, were considered highly suspicious. Police would not say why Suspect E's movements that day were suspect. What the released reports show, however, is that the 38-year-old man who worked in Glenville was questioned several times by detectives before continued access was denied by Suspect E's lawyer.

When asked to come in for questioning four days after Matthew's body was found, Suspect E "appeared at the detective division with his attorney. (He) was asked why he brought his attorney? He stated he did so for his own protection. (The attorney) related that if his client was being accused of anything there would be no interview, further that his client would not fill out or sign a Miranda rights form."

Four days later, the attorney denied a request for Suspect E to undergo a lie detector test, informing detectives they had to first check with him if they wanted anything else from his client.

Suspect F, a man described by police only as a man in his late 20s, was investigated because he was suspected of being a pedophile. Although never arrested, police said they had looked into several complaints lodged by young boys prior to Matthew's murder.

In addition, Suspect F was known to frequently fish in the company of young boys.

Although Suspect F appeared to fit some elements of the FBI profile, he was eventually discounted as a prime suspect. During a conversation with police recorded by a concealed microphone, Suspect F did not appear to know much about Matthew's murder, and what he did know could have been learned through media accounts.

Suspect G, a 37-year-old Glenville man, came to the attention of Greenwich detectives while he was in the custody of state police in October 1984. Suspect G was being questioned about a series of shootings on Interstate 95 because he resembled a police sketch of a suspicious person seen driving a van near one of the shootings.

A state trooper related that Suspect G told him "he was constantly picked on as an adolescent growing up in the Pemberwick area," and "that he needed help, someone to talk to, or psychiatric counseling." The trooper also told detectives Suspect G said he'd been sexually assaulted and tied to a tree in the woods off Pemberwick Road, and that Suspect G appeared he "had something he wanted to say, but was holding it in."

It was confirmed that Suspect G had been involved in some sort of sexual encounter, but perhaps not an assault, involving another neighborhood youth in the woods off Pemberwick Road in 1962.

After Suspect G suggested that his alleged assailant might have murdered Matthew, detectives determined the assailant in the earlier incident had moved from Greenwich prior to Matthew's disappearance and they confirmed that he had been incarcerated in a Florida prison on Aug. 31.

Even though the Florida prisoner was ruled out as a possible suspect, detectives grew more suspicious of Suspect G, who had peppered detectives with questions about Matthew's murder, asking about "all that forensic stuff, like fingerprints and stuff under the nails, footprints and all kinds of stuff," and wanted to know if investigators knew the killer's hair color and blood type.

In a rambling conversation, recorded in a police car by a detective wearing a concealed microphone, Suspect G expressed fear that he was going to die, " 'cause of the Thruway thing and the Margolies kid," and offered that the murderer "got a charge out of it like all these other thrill killers get their charges out of these things."

During the taped drive in the police car, detectives drove Suspect G on Pemberwick Road to watch his reactions, and they noted as they neared the base of the crime scene Suspect G "looked directly to the area where the victim was found" and asked if that was "where the kid was killed?"

Suspect G, who refused take a lie detector test because "he was afraid of being framed," remains a prime suspect, according to police.

Suspect H, a Glenville man in his 50s, was investigated for possible involvement in Matthew's murder because he lived near the victim and had a history of criminal violence. It is thought that Suspect H had given Matthew gifts, which police described in interviews only as "woodsman-type" items, and George Miazga once warned his grandson not to have further contact with Suspect H.

Among other reasons, police ruled out Suspect H as a prime suspect because he suffered from a physical impairment, and the doctor who had operated on the suspect for that impairment told detectives the disability probably would have rendered Suspect H unable to lift the large stone that had been placed atop Matthew's abdomen.

In late 1984, a 33-year-year-old Angelus Drive man who had possibly seen Matthew just before he was believed to have been murdered agreed to undergo hypnosis in an attempt to recall details. On Dec. 21, during a taped interview at the Hypnosis & Counseling Center of Connecticut, the potential witness recalled that as he was driving on Pemberwick Road between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Aug. 31, he saw two boys walking on the side of the road in the vicinity of the crime scene. The younger of the boys was carrying a fishing pole, and directly behind him was a boy who appeared to be "at least 15 years old." Walking on the same side of the road toward the two boys was a stocky and "dumpy looking" white male with black, medium-length hair and wearing a "green CPO type jacket." The white male appeared to be walking from a car parked on the side of the road directly below the crime scene. The car was described as a faded green 1969 or 1970 sedan, possibly a Chevrolet Nova.

The hypnotized witness recalled he'd been driving to a house on Grey Rock Drive, and upon arriving there, "he believed he heard a scream/shriek come from the area of the homicide scene."

The man's recollections appear to coincide with those of the River West woman who heard screaming coming from the vicinity of the crime scene between 6 and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 31. The woman had not thought to report it until after Matthew's body was found - on Sept. 15 - because it was only then she realized the screams might have been related to a crime.

The Margolies case attracted the attention of a number of psychics, who made unsolicited offers of help. One psychic, 12 days after Matthew's body was found, mailed police a list of possible names.

"Mitchell is a key name, but Lawrence deserves special merit. This info is a result of sensory perception," the psychic wrote. "The killer is a young person, 15 to 18 years old. Fact victim fought viciously projects the killer is small in stature. Killer likely is constitutionally pathological, suggesting manic compulsion."

Other psychics alternately described the murderer as Indian, tattooed, a farmer, a landscaper, pockmarked and handicapped. The color red was prominent in some purported visions, and one clairvoyant specifically stated a red pick-up truck was involved.

By far the most intriguing of the purported psychics were those with whom police had contact prior to Matthew's body being found, Sharon and Raymond Robinson.

While some investigators were highly skeptical of the psychics, others found the paranormal information interesting enough to follow it as a legitimate lead. An FBI agent and Greenwich police searched the warehouse the Robinsons claimed to have envisioned, and they found nothing that would "prove or disprove" the psychics' claims. The investigators noted they found a hole in the vacant warehouse wall large enough for a boy to climb through.

Accompanied by the victim's sister, Stacey Margolies, police officers began to search the woods near the warehouse, but they stopped when it began to rain heavily. Had they continued the search, they would have eventually reached the area where Matthew's body was later found.

Nearly six months after the murder, on Feb. 27, 1985, a Riverview Court woman called police to say her 12-year-old son had information that could help the investigation.

According to the boy's statement to detectives, on the afternoon of Aug. 31 Matthew and an older teenager had gone to a house on Concord Street to ask another boy who lived there if he wanted to go fishing with them. The third boy did not go, and Matthew and the other teen were driven either by the older teenager's father or uncle in a red pick-up truck and dropped off on Pemberwick Road near The Mill. Matthew and the older teen then walked to a house nearby.

The 12-year-old boy said he learned this from a friend, who had been threatened with death if he told anyone.

Later that same day detectives interviewed the Concord Street boy, who confirmed he had been approached by Matthew and the older teen on Aug. 31, and that he told the other boys he couldn't go fishing with them because he was going to the YMCA. The Concord Street boy's mother placed the time of the encounter at just prior to 6 p.m. because that was the time he was driven to the YMCA.

The Concord Street boy said the next day, after learning that Matthew was missing, he spoke with the older teen who had been with Matthew.

"You should know where Matthew is, you were fishing with him yesterday," the young witness recounted for detectives, stating that the older teen had replied, "I stayed by the waterfall fishing and Matthew went fishing upstream."

The boy said the day Matthew's body was found, Sept. 5, the same teenager told him, "I bet they probably found him tied to a tree."

The Concord Street boy stuck to his story when re-interviewed at his home five days later. But the day after that, on March 6, the boy changed the story slightly, telling detectives he was "uncertain of the conversation" he and the older teenager had the day Matthew's body was found, and that the older teenager never threatened to kill him.

The Concord Street boy's mother then told detectives she had seen the older teenager's uncle driving an older-model red pick-up truck, and that she believed the uncle was living on Concord Street.

Although not evident from the released portions of police reports, detectives said in interviews that both the boy and his uncle were ruled out as suspects. They would not explain why they were ruled out.

A red pick-up truck entered the picture again, with a report by a retired Greenwich police officer who told of having seen such a vehicle parked on Pemberwick Road, directly below the hillside crime scene, between 5:30 and 6 p.m. the day of the murder. Another witness said he saw a red pick-up truck with wood side panels on northbound Pemberwick Road, between the base of the crime scene and Hawthorne Street, stop to pick up two 12- or 13-year-old boys, one of whom had a fishing pole.

For the above reasons, detectives spent months unsuccessfully looking for this truck and its owner.

Much time and effort had also been put into trying to find out what became of a fishing pole that Matthew was seen carrying about an hour before he was believed murdered. The blue rod, equipped with a spinning reel, had been Matthew's favorite, since it had belonged to his grandfather that was passed down to him by his mother shortly after George Miazga's death. That police was initially believed to have been what Ellin Drive resident Josephine Wilson saw the boy carrying as he walked past Wilson's house at about 5 p.m. Aug. 31.

Detectives examined several fishing poles, and each time Maryann Margolis told them it wasn't the one she passed down to her son after her father's death. Then detectives, acting on a tip, questioned one of the Valley Boys on Sept. 10 about the missing fishing rod, and the teen showed them a blue pole he said he bought from Matthew for $2. Upon viewing it Maryann was unable to positively identify it "due to the fact that the blue cushion area of the rod, she thought was made of cork."

Stella Miazga said she hadn't fished with he husband for many years, and so was unable to identify the blue fishing pole. Maryann Margolis said then, and still maintains today, that she didn't believe Matthew would have sold a fishing rod that had such sentimental value to her son.

Nevertheless, on Sept. 11, the Police Department issued a press release stating that the fishing rod had been found. Police that day also indicated they no longer believed Matthew possession of a pole immediately prior to the fatal assault. And if Josephine Wilson had in fact seen Matthew with a fishing rod, police said, perhaps it was one that the boy's mother was unaware of.

The Margolies murder case continued to be actively investigated through 1988, but as the killer's trail grew colder, leads trickled to a stop. The last lead detectives followed up was in July 1988, when a woman called to say her son might have information relevant to the case. It turned out the boy didn't know anything of significance.

The next and final report in the released portion of the Margolies case file is dated May 29, 1996. It details how on Feb. 24 of that year a Greenwich marine officer trained in satellite global positioning went to the murder scene and determined its exact coordinates. Those coordinates were given to NASA with the hope that a reconnaissance satellite had taken pictures of the crime scene on the day Matthew was murdered.

NASA reported back on May 22 that its satellites had photographed the crime scene area, but only in 1972 and 1992.

Hoping there had been an eye in the sky that witnessed Matthew Margolies' murder was a last-chance grasp at something to keep the case alive.

Then, two years later, Police Chief Peter Robbins revealed a reinvestigation of Matthew's murder was planned.

"I think now is the time to reinvestigate the case," Robbins said in May 1998, shortly after being promoted. "I think it's a solvable case. I want to open this case up with the intent to solve it. I want to review every piece of evidence, every statement and try new approaches."

Wednesday, September 6, 2000

09/06/00 A comprehensive look at Matthew Margolies' last day; the search for a missing boy leads to a gruesome discovery

Youth spent his last day doing favorite things
Part 2 of a 4 part Series
By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

He was the Tom Sawyer of Pemberwick. He knew all the best fishing holes in and around the Byram River, and could catch the slipperiest frogs in "The Valley."

But when 13-year-old Matthew Margolies disappeared one late summer day 16 years ago, he wasn't pulling the type of prank that might be associated with the boy of Mark Twain's imagination.

If you lived in The Valley, chances were you knew Matthew. He was always on the move, looking for spots in the Byram River where the fish were biting, and if he didn't have his line in the water he could be found riding around the neighborhood on his bicycle.

The river flows along many of the neighborhood's side streets and through some back yards, and it was hard to miss the skinny young boy who approached the sport of fishing so seriously. The host of a local cable television show about fishing said he once had Matthew talk to his students in a Greenwich Continuing Education class because "Matthew was a confident and cocky fisherman, and the best (I) had ever seen at Matthew's age."

Matthew was the second generation of his family to be born and raised in The Valley. His mother, Maryann, grew up on Morgan Avenue, in the house her mother, Stella Miazga, lives in to this day. After marrying Paul Margolies from New Canaan, Maryann moved only a few blocks from her childhood home to 8 Pilgrim Drive, where she raised Matthew and his older sister, Stacey.

During the divorce of Maryann and Paul Margolies, finalized in 1983, Matthew became closer than ever with his grandfather, George Miazga. The pair were constant fishing companions, and among other anglers along the Byram River, some sensed a bond so loving that they mistook Miazga for Matthew's father.

Matthew was proud of his grandfather's status as life member of the Glenville Volunteer Fire Company, and he looked forward to following in Miazga's footsteps. As the son of a single working mother, Matthew divided his time between his home on Pilgrim Drive and his grandparents', where he would often sleep over to get an early start on the next day's fishing with George Miazga.

Then Matthew's grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. When George Miazga's illness made him weak, Matthew would go to his house to make his grandfather breakfast and see that he took his medicine after Stella Miazga left for work at a local nursing home.

After George Miazga succumbed to his illness in early August 1984, Matthew began to show signs of profound depression. However, he continued to be out and about the neighborhood, fishing and riding his bicycle, and he still regularly visited with Stella Miazga, having dinner with his grandmother and sleeping over.

Matthew slept at his grandmother's house the night of Aug. 30, 1984, and headed out early the next morning for another day of fishing. He didn't show up for dinner on Aug. 31, and he never would come home. He was brutally murdered that day. His savaged, slight body would not be found for five more days as it lay concealed in a makeshift grave of rocks and leaves a stone's throw from his beloved river.

The crime sent shock waves that ripple to this day through the murdered boy's neighborhood, a tight-knit, working-class enclave known as The Valley. Making matters worse for residents of The Valley was the fact that police suspected then, and still suspect today, that Matthew's murderer may be one of them.

Parents and adults suddenly feared for the safety of the young people of Glenville and began taking precautions.

"We will be encouraging all the children to go directly home so their parents don't worry," Western Junior High School Principal Joan King told Greenwich Time the day after Matthew's body was found.

Jeff Tipke, a 42-year-old Weaver Street resident who has worked at the Glenville Texaco station at the corner of Weaver Street and Glenville Road for more than 25 years, said that because the murderer is likely someone acquainted with Matthew and the area, there are lasting memories among the neighborhood's residents.

"I think that's why they didn't forget, why they haven't forgotten," he said in an interview last month. "Deep down they feel it's somebody local."

In an attempt to better understand the crime, police pieced together Matthew's known movements up until the time he was last seen alive.

Based on witness accounts, police reports show Matthew began the last day of his life just as he had most other summer days.

At about 9:30 a.m. Matthew stopped by Sparta Deli at the corner of Comly and Morgan avenues to buy provisions for the morning's fishing - a small carton of milk and a pastry - before casting his line into the Byram River from the nearby Comly Avenue bridge.

A 69-year-old Morgan Avenue resident spotted Matthew still on the bridge about a half hour later, and she asked "What did you catch?" The boy held up a string of fish and told the woman the fish were really biting that morning.

After leaving the bridge, Matthew apparently made his way upstream. As he climbed the east bank of the Byram River near The Mill - a residential-retail complex on Pemberwick Road near Highview Street - Matthew came across a White Plains, N.Y., man who worked at The Mill. The man recalled that the boy, wearing gray corduroy pants and carrying a fishing pole, remarked about the "good fishing" he was having that day, and that the boy walked away south toward Pemberwick Road. The encounter was placed at about 11:15 a.m., and police noted it occurred about 250 feet from where Matthew's body was later found.

Matthew's next known stop was at his grandmother's house on Morgan Avenue. A 13-year-old boy on his way home from fishing spotted Matthew at about 11:30 a.m. in his grandmother's back yard. Matthew apparently left shortly after that, because when the grandmother, Stella Miazga, returned home around noon she found freshly caught trout in her kitchen. The woman also saw that her grandson had changed clothes, noting his wet corduroy pants on a living room chair.

Before going back out to run errands at about 4 p.m. on Aug. 31, Stella Miazga left a note telling Matthew to "get rid of the fish in the sink."

The next time Matthew was seen was 2 p.m., when he rode his bicycle to Sparta Deli and called up to a man on the veranda of an apartment above the deli, asking the whereabouts of the man's roommate. The identities of this man and his roommate are deleted from the released police reports. One of the roommates had just bought a boat and had promised to take Matthew on it.

Between 4 and 5:30 p.m. there are numerous sightings of the victim, all occurring within a one-square-block area of Sparta Deli, a popular hangout for a group of older neighborhood youths in their mid-to-late teens known as "The Valley Boys."

In police reports, one of Matthew's best friends related how after his grandfather's death, Matthew "began hanging out in the area of Sparta Deli prior to returning to his mother's or grandmother's house for dinner, depending on where he was going to eat É and (on) some occasions would return to the area of the deli to ride his bicycle."

Police said some of the Valley Boys at the time were experimenting with drugs and committing such petty crimes as stealing things from cars. Although friendly with some of those youths, police said Matthew would anger some of them by lecturing them about the dangers of doing drugs.

Sometime around 4 p.m., a 17-year-old boy visiting a friend on Morgan Avenue saw Matthew across the street in his grandmother's driveway, holding a fishing pole in one hand and a frog in the other. The boy related that Matthew told him he planned to cut up the frog to use as fish bait. The 17-year-old's friend had a different recollection, telling police he saw the victim with a frog in his grandmother's driveway between 5:45 and 6 p.m.

The woman to whom Matthew had proudly displayed his string of fish that morning saw the boy again at approximately 5 p.m. as he walked south past her house on Morgan Avenue. She told police she saw Matthew turn and then heard him shout to an unseen person, "Are you coming, Willie?"

In interviews, police said the "Willie" Matthew had called out to was a neighborhood boy named William who had been in his parents' car outside Sparta Deli.

Matthew proceeded down Morgan Avenue and turned left at the next block, where he was next seen by Ellin Drive resident Josephine Wilson as he walked down her street with a fishing pole in one hand and something small concealed in the other.

A short time later, between 5 and 5:15 p.m., two 11-year-old boys who had just finished their newspaper delivery route saw Matthew on a bicycle in front of Sparta Deli, where a group of eight to 15 teenagers also were hanging out. Several fishing poles were observed propped up against the side of the building. Matthew pedaled over to the boys, and they all talked about construction on nearby school grounds. Matthew told the boys that "he had been up there and believed it to be the makings of a playground for Mead School," and then rode back to the deli as the two boys left to go home for dinner.

It was also at about this time, between 5:20 and 5:30 p.m., that a 21-year-old Nicholas Avenue woman home from college saw Matthew walking east on Comly Avenue between Fletcher and Morgan avenues, toward Sparta Deli. The woman was positive the boy was Matthew because she used to baby-sit for one of Matthew's friends, and when the two boys were together they always talked about fishing and how they wanted to join the Fire Department when they grew up.

Although it is not apparent from the heavily edited police reports, detectives said in interviews that one or more witnesses may have seen Matthew climb into a car belonging to one of the teenagers hanging out at the deli, also at around 5:15 to 5:30 p.m.

These accounts of Matthew being at or near Sparta Deli are the last confirmed sightings of Matthew Margolies.

According to reports and interviews, Maryann Margolies drove to the Miazga residence at about 5 p.m. to pick up Matthew for dinner, but no one was home. Miazga had driven Matthew's older sister Stacey to an appointment and they hadn't returned. Maryann waited in case Matthew had gone with Stacey and his grandmother.

Police reports state that a 31-year-old woman was in her River West apartment when, between 6 and 6:30 p.m., she heard someone screaming. "She looked out the window and realized they were coming from the vicinity of Pemberwick Road. (She) described the screams as coming from a young person, and they lasted approximately 30 seconds."

The woman did not report hearing the screams for two weeks. When she did, police determined the screams had come from the woods where Matthew was murdered. The woman's account helped police to fix the time of Matthew's death at between 6 and 6:30 p.m.

When Matthew had still not returned home by 7 p.m., Maryann sensed that something was wrong. She called police at 8:59 p.m. to report her son was missing. She described her son as having been depressed over George Miazga's death, and that it was possible he was off sulking somewhere. But the 43-year-old nurse also told police Matthew never went anywhere without letting her or someone else in the family know.

Police launched an immediate search that involved 17 police officers. Police were assisted by Glenville volunteer firefighters and members of the Margolies family.

Paul Margolies, who by this time was living in Texas, was notified that his son was missing and he assured police he would let them know if he learned of Matthew's whereabouts.

Police concentrated their search on bodies of water and surrounding areas because they knew of the boy's love for fishing and thought he might have drowned. Dozens of streams and ponds were searched. Stacey Margolies searched on her own and also led police along bridal paths near the river that her brother would often take to go fishing.

Another theory about the disappearance was Matthew had wandered into the woods to be alone while grieving for his grandfather. John vonBergen, a 13-year-old from Deep Gorge Road who "knew the gorge and all the hiding spots in the gorge better than any area resident," led searchers to those types of places where a young boy not wanting to be found might go. Western Glenville is marked by steep hillsides, gorges and other features of rough terrain, leading police to wonder whether Matthew had fallen and injured himself so badly he was unable to walk out of the woods on his own. The search was suspended after it became too dark to see.

After the next day dawned and Matthew still had not turned up, the search intensified. A command center, headed by patrol division Capt. Albert Barclay, was established at the corner of Comly Avenue and Pemberwick Road, then the site of Mead School.

At about 11 a.m. Sept. 1, two state police tracking dogs arrived. After sniffing the gray corduroys Matthew had worn the day before, the dogs led troopers north from Comly Avenue along the Byram River. They lost the trail at the base of a waterfall that flows from a dam above. Scuba divers searched for Matthew's body in the pond behind the dam, as well as in other area waterways.

Missing person fliers were distributed throughout western Greenwich, describing Matthew as having last been seen wearing a white T-shirt, white shorts and a distinctive pair of black and white checkered slip-on sneakers. Area hospitals and youth shelters were contacted, and as the extensive ground search continued, a Greenwich officer went airborne in a helicopter loaned by Channel 8 in Hartford.

Maryann Margolies told police Matthew was best friends with the Petrizzi brothers, who lived next door to her mother on Morgan Avenue. The brothers had left for vacation with their parents a week earlier. Matthew had wanted to go with the other boys, but the brothers couldn't get permission. With the help of another neighborhood youth who was friends with Matthew and the Petrizzi brothers, 16-year-old Timothy Fudale, police searched the Petrizzis' vacant residence.

After the Petrizzi brothers returned from vacation, they told police about some places they should look, including a chicken farm where police searched an abandoned cottage and they found a mattress, blanket and other indications someone had been living there.

The afternoon of Sept. 3, a hysterical Stacey Margolies called police to say she had been contacted by a psychic from upstate Connecticut, Sharon Robinson, who said she and her son Raymond both had visions after reading about Matthew's disappearance in a newspaper. One vision had focused on the letter "M," and the other concerned "a warehouse with the color green."

Robinson and her son came to Greenwich and were led by Stacey to an old warehouse about a quarter mile from where Matthew's body would be discovered two days later. There, the visions appeared to come to life.

"Upon seeing the Market at The Mill, (Sharon) related those words with M was what she had envisioned. É Upon walking around the warehouse (Raymond) observed the ivy on the building and observed a green door, and related that was what he had envisioned.

"Both Ms. Robinson and her son entered the warehouse and related that they feel Matthew had been in the warehouse. Ms. Robinson felt that Matthew had been in the warehouse, had left, and will not return. She feels something happened in the warehouse, but not sure of what. Robinson further related Matthew's body would be found on a nearby steep hill by an unknown male."

Stacey Margolies received a second, more disturbing telephone call on Sept. 4. "He's been going there for years and you haven't found him yet. By now he might not be able to get out on his own," the unidentified man said to the missing boy's sister before abruptly hanging up.

To this day, police say they are unsure whether the call had been a prank or was made by Matthew's killer.

Another volunteer firefighter who helped search for Matthew was Frederick Lambert, facilities manager for The Mill. Lambert told police he learned about the hunt for the missing child upon returning from vacation at 8 p.m. Aug. 31.

On his own, Lambert searched a wooded area across Pemberwick Road from The Mill, near Greenway Drive and Hawthorne Street. At about 3:30 p.m. Sept. 5, having spent about half an hour scouring the steep hillside, Lambert found two black and white checkered slip-on sneakers. Marking the spot with an old bicycle tire, Lambert took one of the sneakers to the police and led Youth Officers Stephen Paulo and Michael Panza to where he had found them. As they approached, they noticed a strong foul smell, which one of the officers described as being a "fish-like" odor.

"A strong odor was mentioned again by one of the officers, and I looked to my left and saw some flies about 10 feet from where we were standing, and they were on something white, which I thought might be a dead animal," Lambert said in a later interview with police. "I said, 'Mike, over here!' Panza came over and said, 'This is a body.' "

When the officers got to a pile of rocks, leaves and branches where the flies were swarming, they knew they had finally found Matthew. Through gaps in the material comprising the burial mound, they could see toes, and, upon closer inspection, an ear.

Lambert was told to go back down the hill and wait on the side of Pemberwick Road so he could direct additional police personnel to the body. Meanwhile, officers began stringing yellow crime scene tape from tree to tree.

It came as no surprise to police that their search ended with the recovery of a body, but they hadn't expected to find a murder victim. And the unthinkable brutality of the crime became evident as the rocks and leaves that concealed the boy's body were carefully removed. Matthew, clad only in undershorts and stripped of his T-shirt, gym shorts and one of his socks, had been stabbed over a dozen times, mostly in the chest. His T-shirt was knotted around his neck, and his mouth had been gagged with his sock.

But that alone was not what killed him.

It wasn't until after Matthew's body was removed from the scene for examination at the coroner's office in Farmington that the full extent of the crime became evident. When the gag was removed from Matthew's mouth, it was found that dirt and a stick had been forced down Matthew's throat. The boy had still been alive at this point, according to the autopsy report, because dirt had been breathed into his lungs.

And when the T-shirt was removed from the boy's throat, more stab wounds were found.

Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver ruled the cause of death to have been multiple stab wounds and asphyxiation.

Some of the stab wounds were superficial, torture type injuries, and others had been inflicted after death, leading an FBI profiler to later surmise they were "indicative of overkill." The profiler said one of the superficial wounds to Matthew's neck was a "torture type laceration and the post-mortem stabbing are part of the offender's overall sadistic fantasy."

Defense wounds, which police have not been specific about, indicated that Matthew struggled with the killer. Among other possible defense wounds, the autopsy refers to an injury to the back of Matthew's right hand.

After Matthew's body was removed from the makeshift grave, it was found he'd been lying on the knife that was used to stab him. It was identified as a Foster Brothers knife, about 10 years old, with a 6-inch carbon steel blade and 41Ú2 -inch beechwood handle. It was a type of knife commonly used for boning fish and poultry, and one local angler told police it was the type of knife that could be used to cut up fish bait. The knife is not believed to have been Matthew's, and efforts to determine who might have owned it have failed.

Police collected a considerable amount of evidence from the crime scene and off the victim's body, including "trace" elements that they have never publicly identified and were deleted from the released police reports. Trace evidence can include anything left behind by the killer, including blood, hairs and body fluids. The medical examiner's report refers to fingernail scrapings and hairs being recovered during the autopsy.

Detectives were now faced with the most daunting challenge of their careers. Not only did they have to find someone who was capable of such a heinous act, they were starting their investigation with distinct handicaps - the crime scene had been significantly altered by heavy rains and intense heat; the killer's trail was already five days old.

Editor's note: The murder of Matthew Margolies is one of the most compelling crimes in Greenwich history.

Matthew, 13, disappeared Aug. 31, 1984. His body was discovered five days later in a makeshift grave less than a mile from his home.

No arrests were made, nor was a prime suspect publicly named.

In recent years, the investigation became inactive after all leads were exhausted. Greenwich Time requested the case files but was denied by Greenwich police officials, who maintained the case remained active.

An agreement was reached through the offices of the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission. The Greenwich Police Department opened much of the Margolies murder file but kept some names and details confidential to protect its investigation.

Using those case files, new interviews and research, Greenwich Time has prepared a four-part series on the Margolies murder case

Tuesday, September 5, 2000

09/05/00 Newly released reports detail police inquiry - Part 1 of a 4 part Series

By J.A. Johnson Jr. - Greenwich Time

On the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 31, 1984, the minds of most Greenwich residents were probably on plans for the long Labor Day weekend that would begin the following day, and children were thinking of ways to best enjoy the last days of summer vacation before returning to school.

But as the day came to an end, people - particularly on the western end of town - came together with a singular purpose: to find a boy from the Pemberwick section of Glenville who hadn't come home for dinner.

As darkness fell, with dozens of police officers, firefighters and other volunteers suspending their search until morning, some began fearing the worst for Matthew Margolies, as it was highly out of character for the 13-year-old not to let his family know where he would be. A remarkably able fisherman for a boy his age, Matthew was presumed by some to have possibly drowned in the Byram River where he spent so much of his time.

For five frantic days, sometimes in pouring rain, authorities, friends, neighbors and family members searched in and around the woods and river that coursed through back yards in Matthew's working class neighborhood, known as The Valley. It was all for naught. On Sept. 5, a day before he was to have begun eighth grade at Western Junior High School, Matthew was found, the victim of an unusually vicious murder.

Discovered beneath a pile of rocks, branches and leaves in a wooded area about a mile from his Pilgrim Drive home, Matthew had been stripped to his undershorts, stabbed over a dozen times with a knife, strangled with his own clothing and suffocated with dirt that was forced down his throat. It was later determined the young victim had been tortured before he was murdered. Although no evidence of sexual assault was found, the murder was thought to have been sexually motivated, and the killer to have acted out gory fantasies while committing the crime.

Perhaps the most chilling aspect of the murder was that police believed, and still believe today, that Matthew died at the hands of someone who knew him and lived in The Valley.

"People were nervous," is how longtime resident Judy Moretti recalled the mood of neighbors who realized not only had they known the victim, but possibly were acquainted with the killer as well. "It was disbelief. It was crazy."

The murder launched the most extensive criminal investigation in the history of the Greenwich Police Department. Initially involving all 16 of its detectives, the investigation put residents of The Valley under a microscope to see who among them had the means, motive and opportunity to fatally assault their young neighbor so savagely.

Recently released reports show that even though an arrest has not been made, Greenwich police, who were relatively inexperienced handling homicide probes, appeared to have conducted a thorough and professional investigation. A paid consultant and homicide investigations expert would conclude as much in a 1986 critique of the Margolies case. The consultant, retired New York City police homicide investigator Vernon Geberth, further concluded that the type of crime Greenwich police were investigating - which he termed a "lust murder" - was extremely difficult to solve because the motive usually can only be found inside the killer's mind.

Also working against police were a lack of both witnesses to the murder and physical evidence at the crime scene, which had been altered by heavy rain and contaminated by animals and insects in the five days Matthew's body had gone unfound.

To help develop a list of possible suspects, police enlisted the FBI to study the unique aspects of the crime and develop a psychological profile of Matthew's murderer. The profile was that of a white man who knew Matthew, was familiar with the crime scene area, abused alcohol or drugs, and acted out a sexual fantasy while killing his victim.

Using the profile as a guide, police identified approximately 20 possible suspects, nearly all of whom either lived or worked in Glenville. The suspect list was eventually pared down to eight people, all of whom police say remain suspects to this day.

Police reports show how detectives obtained and executed search warrants at the homes of three suspects who lived nearby and knew Matthew, and how some suspects cooperated with detectives in varying degrees while others flatly refused to help.

Tried and true investigative techniques were employed, including surveillance and surreptitiously recording conversations with suspects, as well as lie-detector tests. The hunt for Matthew's killer involved hundreds of interviews, unearthing an amazing array of characters in and around The Valley. Reports show these people were closely looked at as potential suspects either because of prior contacts with police, as a result of neighbors' suspicions, or because they fit the FBI's profile of Matthew's killer.

The released police reports also show unconventional tactics were employed, including the use of clairvoyants, one of whom seemed to be eerily on target with details of the crime scene even before Matthew's body was found. Hypnosis was used to help witnesses better recall what they had seen the day of the murder.

The reports provide not only the official record of an all-out attempt to catch a killer; they blueprint a largely circumstantial case in which investigators appear to have good reason to point their fingers at a variety of people, but lack the evidence to make an arrest.

The bulk of the investigative work was done during the 15 months following the murder. Of the 610 pages of the released police reports, 587 had been filed by the end of 1985.

On the murder's first anniversary, the frustration police were experiencing began to show.

"You pick up a newspaper and see there's a homicide somewhere and that the police have a suspect in two days," then-Capt. Peter Robbins told Greenwich Time on Aug. 31, 1985. "It hurts. They found a suspect and you didn't. They got the breaks, and you didn't."

After the final report of the year was filed on Dec. 12, 1985, additional entries to the Margolies case file became few and far between. The last of the recently released reports is dated May 1996 in which an unsuccessful attempt to use NASA satellite technology to further the investigation is detailed.

But by then Matthew's murder had become a cold case. No one was investigating it full time anymore; tips were no longer being phoned into the detective bureau.

Then, in 1998, Robbins, who had headed the Margolies murder investigation as captain of detectives, was appointed police chief. In June of that year he disclosed he was planning a new push to find Matthew's murderer.

"I believe the killer is still living here in town, and I think we have the ability to locate this individual and build a good case against him," Robbins said at the time.

Two detectives were assigned to reinvestigate the case, and after more than a year of preliminary work - which involved a thorough review of the voluminous case file and a re-examination of evidence by forensic scientists - the detectives hit the streets this March to track down witnesses and suspects.

Detectives Timothy Duff and Gary Hoffkins said last month that they already had conducted numerous interviews, and that many more were planned. They hope to test the veracity of witness and suspect statements through polygraph examinations.

Although the detectives would not reveal any of their findings so far, or whether progress had been made, they said their focus remained on the eight "key suspects" who had been identified during the original investigation.

As members of a police department long-criticized for an inability to solve homicides, the detectives may find new hope in the fact that a suspect in another Greenwich murder - one that has gone unsolved even longer than Matthew's - is headed for trial in the near future.

A Superior Court judge last month ruled that sufficient evidence exists for former Greenwich resident Michael Skakel to be tried for the 1975 murder of 15-year-old Walsh Lane resident Martha Moxley. The long-stalled Moxley murder investigation was given new life following Greenwich Time's 1990 publication of information culled from the Moxley case file that the newspaper obtained through a Freedom of Information complaint. The publicity generated new interest as well as leads that resulted in the convening of a grand jury, which in January issued a report that prosecutors used in obtaining a warrant for Skakel's arrest that same month.

Key to the judge's ruling that probable cause exists for Skakel to stand trial was that she found as credible the testimony of witnesses who allegedly heard Skakel make admissions about the murder while attending a substance abuse rehabilitation program with Skakel.

Police are hoping for a similar break in the Margolies case.

"The murderer could have made a slip or established a relationship with someone who has seen or heard him do or say something unusual that could implicate him," Robbins said.

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