Unknown Vanessa Sosin Killer- Maryland- 2003 Feb 4, 2016 14:41:00 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Feb 4, 2016 14:41:00 GMT -5
Cold Case: Clues Point To Everyone And No One
A beautiful, accomplished, newly married businesswoman is stabbed to death in the back of her consignment store in historic Rockville, Maryland. But cops say before leaving the scene, the killer plants gasoline around the store and sets it ablaze. Miraculously, firefighters put out the fire before Vanessa Sosin's gasoline-soaked body goes up in flames.
Who would do such a terrible thing? There are plenty of clues, maybe too many -- because they point to everyone and no one. Her family joins a determined detective in refusing to let the case go cold.
In 1999, Vanessa Johnson was living in New York. She met Cliff Sosin over the internet. She was in her mid- thirties, a young, beautiful black woman. He was a divorced white Jewish man from Maryland with a teenaged daughter. The relationship grew slowly into love. Two years later, they married, and Vanessa moved to his elegant house in Potomac, Maryland. Her dream was to open her own retail business, and she soon accomplished that dream, opening an upscale consignment boutique in a historic building in nearby Rockville, Maryland. According to her husband, they were very much in love and their marriage was perfect. According to her family and friends she didn't have an enemy in the world.
Witnesses Saw A Tall Dark Woman Enter The Store
It was a cold Saturday afternoon, February 8, 2003. A woman and her daughter browsed in Vanessa's store, and as they were leaving they noticed a tall black woman come in. She was wearing a pillbox hat and a dark puffy coat. She was carrying two shopping bags full of clothes. They heard Vanessa say to the woman, "Oh, hi, what do you have for me today?" Within 20 minutes, a mailman down the street saw a person in a dark coat run out of the building, and then he saw smoke.
The mailman called 9-1-1 and firefighters got to Vanessa's store quickly. To their horror, they found Vanessa dead in the back of her store, doused with gasoline, stabbed 14 times. There was blood spattered all over the walls, and unexploded plastic bottles full of gasoline scattered along the floor. It was an arson investigation and a murder investigation. Montgomery County Police Detective Paula Hamill says her first gut reaction to the crime scene was that it looked like someone was very angry with Vanessa, but after a three year investigation, she has yet to find a single enemy.
The Clues: Eyewitnesses, Accelerant, DNA, Blood Spatter
The two customers saw a tall black woman in a puffy coat with her hair tucked up in a pillbox hat. The mailman saw a person fleeing the store, but couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman. DNA swabs taken from the crime scene include DNA from both a man as well as a woman.
No money was taken from the store, Vanessa's purse and wallet were still there, none of her jewelry was taken and her Mercedes was also left behind. Vanessa's husband Cliff says the only thing missing was a full length dark mink coat that she wore to work that day.
Arson investigator Lt. Brian Anderson of the Montgomery County Fire Department determined the killer came in intending to set the fire. He says the killer brought a funnel, a gas can, rubber gloves, and plastic bottles. The bottles were all filled with the same mixture ... a mixture of gasoline and 2-cycle oil generally used for power lawn equipment, like chain saws. Despite this, Lt. Anderson does not believe it was a professional arsonist, saying "They didn't understand enough to get the fire to trail back to where the body was; that they needed to have a continuous ignitable trail back to that point."
Blood spatter expert Dr. Bill Vosburgh analyzed the crime scene and theorized Vanessa was dragged back to the store's bathroom at knifepoint, then stabbed in the carotid artery. Smudges on the doorframe indicate her attacker is likely to be tall...anywhere from 5'10" to 6'2". This height could indicate her attacker was a man.
Police checked out homeless shelters and homeless service organizations in the neighborhood. They checked her business associates. They checked her friends, both new and old, and found no one among them to have any motive or means or opportunity to hurt her. Her husband Cliff, came under investigation when detectives got a tip he was actively dating women he met on the internet. Detectives learned he even had a date scheduled the night Vanessa was killed. The outing of his hidden life caused a rift in the family, and Cliff is now estranged from Vanessa's mother and sister. He blames the police for this, but they say he is no longer a suspect in his wife's murder and welcome his help in their investigation.
Thoughts? The above is from the AMW archives. Vanessa's story was aired on the June 10th, 2006 episode of America's Most Wanted. I will provide a vimeo link to the AMW segment in one of the links below the admin notes. I personally wonder if that woman who entered the store was really a man in disguise. It will be the 10-year anniversary of Vanessa's murder in June and that's always a frustrating milestone in anyone's case so let's hope it can be solved before then or shortly afterwards.
Admin Note #1: Based on crime location, our advice for anyone with information on who killed Vanessa would be to contact Montgomery County Crime Solvers: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pol/resource/solvers.html
Admin Note #2: If you have any news-related updates on this case, please contact us here: amwfans.com/thread/1662/website-contact-form
AMW website page: web.archive.org/web/20100602190913/http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=38762
AMW TV airing on Vimeo: vimeo.com/52198897