A number of killings of young women and girls in New Jersey and New York had gone unsolved for years before a night in May 1980 when a maid at a Hasbrouck Heights hotel called police saying shed heard a woman screaming. We use cookies to deliver personalized advertisements, improve your online experience, and to analyze our site's performance. He said he would talk about other murders only on the condition that the revelations would be kept out of the papers. It was just shock all the way around.. He did, however, leave behind their clothing, including a pair of Bonjour jeans, white leotards and a black fur coat, neatly folded in the bath tub. On March 12, 1974, Cottingham was arrested in New York City for robbery and unlawful imprisonment on the complaint of another prostitute. He would approach them in bars, drug them with the date rape drug Tuinal, take them to a remote locationtypically a motelwhere he would bind, gag, torture, and stab them before killing them by strangling them with a ligature. They sat at the kitchen table, very professional, very polite, very considerate, Ms. Mulder recalled. But as he considered retirement, he kept returning to the two girls found dead in the woods. 0000007078 00000 n Richard Cottingham of Lodi (NJ) is sentenced to 173-179 years in prison. Cottingham was convicted of five murders and numerous counts of kidnapping and sexual assault and sentenced to 173 to 197 years, which he is serving in Trentons New Jersey State Prison. The chief contacted the Blase family and told them what they had ached to know for decades: He knew who had killed Irene. FPh_3Gj Nt%Q[r L`%/9QTh/| Q4_g8KI}u'?xbif`H>;wNQ|sd2(? Serial killer Richard Cottingham made his admission in the cold case murders of the high school girls, acknowledging that he kidnapped, raped and finally drowned the pair inside a motel room. In October 1966, he became a computer operator for Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, where he worked until his 1980 arrest. In 2000, as a young detective in the Bergen County prosecutors office, Robert Anzilotti was tasked with looking into the murders, along with a few other similar cold cases from the 1960s and 1970s. That was less than a year after Cottingham and his wife had their first child. Authorities executed a warrant on his Lodi home, which had a private room containing evidence linking him to the Torso Killer. She was a mother, she was a wife, a daughter and a grandmother taken far too early. Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your Privacy Choices and Rights (each updated 1/26/2023). 0000003686 00000 n Shed been abducted by Cottingham from the Ledgewood Terrace apartments, in Little Ferry, where Cottingham had previously lived, said Vronsky. Since his incarceration, he has attempted suicide on two occasions. Cottingham didnt like the idea, apparently wanting to continue their dialogue. Prosecutors will seek dual life sentences to run alongside his current lifetime term when Cottingham is sentenced on July 9 for what Musella said were the willful, deliberate, and premediated murders of Mary Ann Prior and Lorraine Kelly. So he would remember something on the way: a racetrack or a shopping mall. But in 2009, he surfaced to again make waves, when he gave a chilling interview to journalist Nadia Fezzani about his motivation and his body count. He had no relationship to his victims. Premiering on Dec. 29, the three-part season explores the case of Richard Cottingham, a New Jersey man who was dubbed "The Torso Killer" and found guilty of killing 11 women between 1967 and 1980. 0000002435 00000 n He did a U-turn in a bank parking lot and approached, he said. Detective Anzilotti was startled to discover the same man killed all three. He was originally from the Bronx in New York City. He stood trial in New York and New Jersey in a coat and tie and denied everything, but he was convicted in all five killings. The family lived in Lodi, and Mr. Cottingham commuted to a job as a computer operator at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Manhattan. A case based on his "signature pattern" was built against him, combined with the testimony of four surviving victims, as well as pieces of his victims' jewellery and other items found in his possession after his arrest. Police were not aware of his murders at the time, nor were they aware that an active serial killer was at large in the New York-New Jersey area. xref Cottingham murdered at least twelve women between 1967 and 1980. The body of Laverne Moye, of St. Albans, Queens, was discovered in a Rockville Centre creek on July 20, 1972. He then drowned them in a bathtub, he said, and dumped their bodies in the woods in a wooded area behind Rolling Ridge Road in Montvale. %PDF-1.4 % At the time, Cottingham, who had not been arrested or identified, was dubbed the "Times Square Ripper.. 0000001982 00000 n Cusicks daughter, Darlene Altman, told Nassau County Judge Caryn Fink her late grandparents raised her after her mothers shocking slaying. [16], In the early hours of May 22, 1980, Cottingham picked up 18-year-old Leslie Ann O'Dell, who was soliciting on the corner of Manhattan's Lexington Avenue and 25th Street. Knowing better, Harp, just 13 years old, refused. A number of killings of young women and girls in New Jersey and New York had gone unsolved for years before a night in May 1980 when a maid at . About a week later, Big Apple authorities would find Reyners body, but still, no one in New Jersey connected them to the Times Square killer, says former NYPD detective Malcolm Reiman in the series. After years in prison, Mr. Cottingham began to open up to the detective about past unsolved crimes. The sergeant was undeterred. On December 2, 1979, firemen in New York responded to an alarm at the Travel Inn motel[11] near Times Square. After those confessions, the two men barely spoke. A real sick bastard did this, retired NYPD detective Jim Riegel, who was working as a beat cop that day, recalls his sergeant telling him in the new Netflix series Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer, out Wednesday. 0000001425 00000 n It was a game to me. The victim, Valerie Street, had just been busted in Miami for prostitution, and was last seen getting picked up by a man in New York City. Then in exchange for immunity from prosecution, he confessed to murdering three New Jersey schoolgirls. Among the other faces in separate windows on the Zoom screen was a 66-year-old woman, identified simply as Nancy. H|U0+(QvG`b08NbHlSoZ2CRSs=* \e~ 2023 NYP Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved, Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters, Times Square Torso Ripper: Sex and Murder on The Deuce, cataloging 17,000 years of pathological homicide. I believe hes killed between 85 and 100, as he claims, Vronsky told The Post. Authorities believed it to be, thus far, the oldest criminal case to be solved and prosecuted by direct DNA evidence. On July 17, 1968, Harp, of Midland Park, was walking home from band practice when a strange man, Cottingham, tried to coax her into his car, Vronsky said. The 45th year passed in the same way. During his trial, he testified that he had been fascinated by bondage since he was a young child. According to his neighbors, he seemed like a regular family man. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. On Tuesday, Richard Cottingham, 74, sat in a wheelchair in beige prison scrubs as he pleaded guilty to kidnapping the teenage girls and raping them for days before he drowned them in a motel room bathtub. It represented closure, Moye said of this weeks hearing. Although Vogel was the earliest of Cottinghams murder victims, the killer has said she was not his first, according to Vronsky. [2], In 2010, he pleaded guilty to the 1967 murder of Nancy Vogel. He had come further in closing cases than his younger self could have imagined. The Blase family agreed. Cottingham, who is also nicknamed "The Torso Killer," moved into this rented three-bedroom house in February of 1975. Maintenance workers found her body covered in plastic bags and wrapped in a gray blanket near a Jones Beach bus stop. This time, at the Seville Hotel, where he strangled Jean Reyner, a 25-year-old mother working in the sex trade to finance a child custody battle. In 1948, Cottingham's family moved to Dumont, New Jersey, and in 1956 to River Vale, New Jersey, where he began his fascination with bondage pornography. [5] On May 15, 1980, Jean Reyner was strangled and her throat cut in New York's historic Seville Hotel. That night, city firefighters responded to a blaze at a motel in Times Square, the New York Daily News reported. Anything that might close more cases, bring answers to more families. Before his arrest, he was a successful computer operator who worked at the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurance company in Midtown Manhattan. It was an era when the sex worker was criminalized. I didnt know what to expect. Mr. Cottingham had a vulnerability, the chief realized: After divulging nothing during hours of questioning, hed sometimes loosen up on the drive back to prison, sitting in the back seat and believing the day was done. Its an ongoing process, Vronsky said. The New York Times, p. 2. 0000003451 00000 n So we just stayed in the car and we kept talking to each other, getting to know each other and so forth., If the rain wasnt there, they would have just went to the mall and that would have been it, he said, And I would have went to work.. Eventually, Mr. Cottingham began to loosen up, and he spoke about killing the prostitutes. 43 0 obj<>stream The chief pressed ahead with his list. The man has no heart, no soul, no emotion whatsoever, she said. Her glasses, a ring, a necklace, Ms. Mulder said. They were facedown, side by side, as if placed there with care. 0000013001 00000 n But the arrest in 1980 changed everything, exposing Richard's double life and deadly exploits. [4], On October 3, 1969, Cottingham was charged and convicted of drunk driving in New York City and was fined $50 (equivalent to $400 in 2021). They have also lived in Whiting, IN. The house is close to Lodi High School, the Riverside Cemetery and Interstate 80. 7{(~tm LB IBJ*ZB`0 0000003183 00000 n In other words, he may have been content and/or preoccupied. The chief agreed. I lost so much more than just my mother that day, Altman said. The Google Street View image on the right was taken 38 years later, in June of 2018. Now I just have to go on with my life.. 0000005280 00000 n The weather worsened. Cottinghamss name came up several times, but it didnt fit for me, she said. 0000009543 00000 n Then hed clear the room until only he and Mr. Cottingham faced each another, and begin with his questions. Richard Cottingham was born in 1946 and was raised mostly in New Jersey, according to the The New York Times. In his possession, the 33-year-old had a stash of handcuffs, tape and sedatives. I couldnt even imagine losing a child. Cottingham admitted during the plea hearing that he brought Mary Ann and Lorraine to a hotel, where he raped both and bound the girls to keep them from getting away. 0000006081 00000 n There were similarities in the two cases: the girls ages, the apparently hasty disposal of their bodies, even their appearance, both with long, dark hair. Altman, who was just 3 years old at the time, said her parents had separated prior to Cusicks killing. Richard Francis Cottingham was born on November 25, 1946, in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx in New York City, the first of four children. In early December 1979, firefighters were called to the Travel Inn Motor Hotel on 42nd Street as a fire burned in room 417. Investigators noted the crime scene was devoid of evidence and they were unable to identify the victims. Denise Falasca, 15, of Closter, New Jersey. Again and again, for 15 years, Mr. Anzilotti met with the inmate, seeking the truth. Cottingham fled the scene with the victims heads and hands. They captured Cottingham soon after. According to one of his co-workers, he was smart, well-read, and up-to-date on current events. Richard Cottingham, Lorraine . The police believed they had given up on the bus and were trying to hitchhike to a mall. They'd left home for a trip 13 miles (21 kilometers) north to . Furthermore, one of the women that he murdered in 1979 is still unidentified. And even though Harp ran, Cottingham soon overtook her and dragged her into a grouping of bushes where teens would often go to smoke and make out, he said. I could feel it.. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a photograph of Jean Reyner. Between 1970 and 1974, Cottingham and his wife, Janet, lived at an apartment block called Ledgewood Terrace in Little Ferry, New Jersey. Cottingham, 75, admitted before state Superior Court Judge Keith Bachmann in April 2021 that he had killed Mary Ann Pryor, 17, and her friend Lorraine Kelly, 16, when the pair went shopping for. New Jersey . I just kind of looked at it and touched it and put it in a box where I had some dried flowers for my mother when she passed.. Straddling her back, he drew a knife and put it to her throat as he snapped a pair of handcuffs on her wrists. Cottingham had just raped, tortured and beheaded two sex workers in a room at the motel before setting it on fire. But something a hunch, past investigative speculation, the proximity of the crimes drew Mr. Anzilotti to the prisoner. PB| In December 2019, forensic historian and author Peter Vronsky, on the eve of publishing the revelation in his second edition of Serial Killers: The Method and Madness of Monsters, publicized the confessions with the BCPO's cooperation, in a community meeting in Midland Park. Cottingham had kept these items as souvenirs so that he could remember his victims and relive his attacks. Inside they found the bodies of 22-year-old sex worker Deedeh Goodarzi[9] and an unidentified woman estimated between 16 and 22. Accused serial killer nurse allegedly tried to murder premature infant twice. But he eventually realized the years-long association, which involved countless state prison visits, was coming to an end. [22][23] He pleaded guilty in a December court appearance, and also officially admitted killing four other women in Long Island: Mary Beth Heinz,[24] Laverne Moye,[16] Sheila Heiman,[25] and Maria Emerita Rosado Nieves.[26]. You can set your cookie preferences below. He later detailed his brief 1979 encounter with Cottingham in Times Square Torso Ripper: Sex and Murder on The Deuce. His upcoming book on the vicious predator will be released next fall. Retrieved April 2nd, 2007, from Factiva database. That made 11 murders Cottingham that admitted since his arrest more than 30 years ago. I was shocked that one human being was capable of all this carnage, Moye said of Cottingham. Soon, Cottingham persuaded Blase to go for a drink with him. Select this result to view Richard P Cunningham's phone number, address, and more. He had his list of names, each one a dead girl and a crime long unsolved. She had been tied up and strangled, authorities said. He forced his victims to address him as "master". Richard Francis Cottingham (born November 25, 1946) is an American serial killer and rapist who murdered at least eighteen young women and girls in New York and New Jersey between 1967 and 1980. To bring Mr. Cottingham back to court, where the case would certainly draw attention, would stop him from talking about other open cases, the chief explained. Then came Tuesdays pleas. Cottingham, who grew up in River Vale, has been in prison since the 1980s, when he was convicted of the first five murders to which he was linked. In the 1970s, he had preyed on prostitutes in Times Square 30 miles but a world away from Montvale not just killing them, but torturing and dismembering them. Despite the gruesome nature of his murders, the butcher, named Richard Cottingham, never warranted the breathless news coverage of David Son of Sam Berkowitz, who only three years prior paralyzed the Big Apple with fear. A horrible scene, the police commissioner said that day. They were never able to fully recover from the monumental loss, she said. With an uncomplicated enthusiasm for his work, Detective Anzilotti rose through the ranks, eventually becoming the chief of detectives with a busy office to lead. He enjoys our relationship. A maid heard the teenagers guttural screams and called police. He was also known to threaten them with a plastic gun and leave it within their reach so they could try to grab it only to find out it was false, severely bite and scrape their nipples, cut around the breasts, and use other forms of torture. And at the time, it was beyond our capacity to look beyond New York City, he told The Post. Blase was found strangled to death in 4 feet of water in Saddle River the next day. The house was built in 1974one year before Cottingham and his wife, Janet, moved in. He then left the scene with their severed heads and hands. 0000000991 00000 n He described in detail how, instead, he took the girls to a motel, held them captive and eventually drowned them in the bathtub. He rented an apartment in Midtown and told his wife he worked nights. Notably, none of his crimes took place on the property. But the killer was a clever bastard, too. No leads were forthcoming. I was able to get almostany woman to do whatever I wanted them to do . All these factors created this crucible in the center of Manhattan for Richard Cottingham to flourish.. It also left enormous holes in the souls of family and friends of Mary Ann Pryor, 17, and Lorraine Kelly, 16. Two focused entirely on him: Rod Leith's The Prostitute Murders: The People vs. Richard Cottingham (Lyle Stuart Inc., 1983) and Crime Scene: The Times Square Killer (Netflix, 2021). The third result is Richard Eric Cunningham age 50s in Skillman, NJ. 21 0 obj <> endobj On one occasion, he dismembered two sex workers and set fire to their torsos at a hotel near Times Square. Instead, she ended up shopping at one of Bergen Countys malls, according to Vronsky. Although Cottingham has formally admitted to eighteen killings and has claimed to have killed as many as 100, he is known to have only murdered seventeen girls between 1967 and 1980 and attempted to kill a further four. He would let his guard down, Mr. Anzilotti said. A third the killing of 13-year-old Jackie Harp seemed to be the work of another killer. He worked hard on this., There were never any meaningful updates, until a Monday this April, when detectives knocked on her door in Ocean County, N.J., and said they had obtained a confession. YouTubes privacy policy is available here and YouTubes terms of service is available here. 0000002831 00000 n I think sometimes he grapples with his own gruesomeness back then., On March 12, a Friday, Mr. Anzilotti summoned the inmate. After nearly 15 years of interviews by Anzilotti and Detective Capt. Rodrigo Torrejon may be reached at rtorrejon@njadvancemedia.com. On September 4, 1973, Cottingham was arrested in New York City for robbery, oral sodomy and sexual abuse on the complaint of a prostitute and her pimp. Months later, in May 1980, another prostitute from Times Square was found dead, this time in a New Jersey motel; that murder was linked to yet another at the same location. And considering the closure of yesterdays cases, I absolutely believe him.. I have done many shows about serial killers, and I have always marveled at the fact that [Ted] Bundy, [John Wayne] Gacy, [Jeffrey] Dahmer and Berkowitz were all household names, perversely, Berlinger told The Post. Richard Cottingham of Lodi (NJ) is sentenced to 173-179 years in prison. After failing to return home from a trip to buy shoes at the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, New York,[9] 23-year old Diane Cusick was found raped, beaten, and strangled to death in the back seat of her car, parked near the mall. But on May 22, 1980 Cottingham's life as a predator came to light. Cottingham, a former computer programmer whose wrath of terror spanned from 1967 to 1980, also copped on Monday to strangling Mary Beth Heinz, 21, in May 1972, three months before he killed Moye and dumped her body in the same creek. . It is situated at 29 Vreeland Street in Lodi, New Jersey. A notorious New Jersey serial killer pleaded guilty Tuesday to the cold case murders of two teenage girls in 1974. On May 22, Cottingham then picked up Leslie Ann ODell, a 19-year-old runaway desperate to escape her pimp something he promised to help her do over drinks in Midtown. He needed a way to approach Mr. Cottingham and found an opening in 2003, when he got a tip: Mr. Cottingham was taking bets on sporting events from his cell.