Major update in case of victim suffocated to death with tape around neck after murder linked to infamous 'Torso' killer | The Sun

OFFICIALS have provided a major update in the case of a victim suffocated to death with tape around her neck after her murder was linked to the infamous "Times Square torso killer."

Diane Cusick's body was found over five decades ago in 1968, but no one had been charged with her murder.

Cusick was allegedly strangled and raped in a parked car on Long Island on February 16, 1968.

“That evening, she told her parents that she was going to purchase a pair of shoes at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly.

“She never returned home.”

Her father found Cusick's body in the vehicle after he went looking for her.


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The case went unsolved for more than five decades.

But now, new DNA evidence has connected the accused "Times Square Torso killer," Richard Cottingham, to Cusick's murder.

Cottingham, now 75, is currently behind bars in New Jersey for a series of murders committed in the 1970s.

Those crimes earned him "Torso killer" nickname, and were even documented in a Netflix show.

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Cottingham was arraigned on Wednesday from the Saint Francis Medical Center where he pleaded not guilty.

This could potentially be the 12th murder Cottingham is convicted of if he's found guilty.


Officials provided new insight as to what they believe happened the night Cusick was murdered.

They believe Cottingham pretended to be a police officer or a security guard at the mall.

Officials also think Cottingham may have accused Cusick of shoplifting prior to the killing.

“That is what we believe happened on that night,” said homicide squad Detective Capt. Stephen Fitzpatrick.

New advances in technology allowed investigators to match DNA left on Cusick's hand to Cottingham, as she reportedly tried to fight him off, according to the New York Daily News.

“Now (he’s) a known serial killer, but then an unknown computer programmer in Times Square,” said Nassau prosecutor Jared Rosenblatt, head of the homicide bureau.

“Unknown to him, he left behind his DNA.”

He has also been linked to five other murders on Long Island, officials said.


Darlene Altman, Cusick's daughter, was in attendance for the June 22 arraignment.

She was just four years old when her mother died.

"It was very overwhelming, he just had this dead stare," Altman told News12.

"I felt like he was looking right at me, it was creepy for lack of a better word."

She also didn't believe there'd ever be closure in the case of her mother's murder.

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"I never thought I would see this day, I had given up," Altman told News12.

"But all these people got justice for me and for my mother."

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