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A Baltimore County woman is pressed to find the killer of her childhood friend for 40 years; How New DNA Evidence Finally Broke The Case – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Sue Yutzy will never forget walking down Hammonds Ferry Street in Lansdowne on September 23, 1981. She was 14 years old then, and along with her best friend Heather Porter, a year younger. That would be the last time she saw Porter alive.

“Heather got into an argument with his parents that night. I was punished. We snuck out to be together,” Yutzy told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. “I left Heather two blocks that way. The next day, I woke up to be told that my best friend had been murdered, and never had I been. 14 years old, that’s really hard to accept. ”

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Police said Porter was raped and strangled. Her body was dumped in Towson. “I can’t imagine her fear. What is going on in her mind? I couldn’t imagine it,” Yutzy told Hellgren. “I have the guilt of a survivor. I carried that with me for years, leaving her alone and not bringing her home to my door.”

For more than four decades, Yutzy regularly called the Baltimore County police to try to keep the case alive. But there were no major updates until November 2021, when the detective leading the investigation told her they had a suspect. This week, police released the identity of the man they believe to have killed as John Anthony Petrecca Junior. “It’s great to have an ending. Name. Whose face did it,” Yutzy said. “I know him, but I’m trying to put the pieces together of how I know him.”

Petrecca, who police said had a record of rape arrests in the 1960s and 1970s, died more than 20 years ago. Police exhumed his body on March 11 with written authorization from the Baltimore State Attorney’s Office. They tested the DNA and the results matched.

Petrecca, BCPD

“Bode Technologies analyzed the sample and passed their results on to the FBI for further analysis,” police said in a statement. “In February 2021, it was determined that John Anthony Petrecca, Jr., may be a suspect in the murder of 13-year-old Heather Porter. … Baltimore County Homicide detectives determined that, at the time of the murder, Petrecca was residing in block 100 of Ridge Ave., in Halethorpe, Maryland. This location is a short distance from where Heather Porter was last seen.”

WJZ could not be reached by the Petrecca family for comment. “Thanks to advances in forensic technology, members of Porter’s family now know the identity of the person who took their loved one’s life. The Baltimore County Sheriff’s Department sincerely thanks Bode Technology, the Hackerman Foundation, and the FBI for their expert analysis, help, and support to solve this chilling case,” police said.

Heather Porter’s Family spoke to WJZ in 2017 follows our year-long investigation into the disappearances and murders of several young men believed to be linked to a possible sex ring run by priests and powerful police.

Heather’s sister, Mary Porter, said: ‘She has two thumbprints on her neck, she has a handprint on her arm or bruises. “She has skin underneath her fingernails. Her fingernails were broken from the struggle. So she fought to the death.”

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Friends said Mary Porter died two years ago, do not know who killed Heather.

WJZ Anchor Denise Koch asked her in 2017 about the possibility that the suspect died from a crime that happened a long time ago. “If you can prove that person did it, I got justice,” Mary Porter said. “At least they’re dead. At least they can’t do that to anyone else. They couldn’t do it with another living soul. They cannot break another family. They can’t hurt another innocent child.”

A police source told us in 2017 they were looking into whether Porter’s case could be bound to some other person and whether there was any connection to the late Father Joseph Maskell, the priest investigated in Netflix movie ‘The Keepers.’

“Even myself, we are all connected to Father Maskell. He has in his hands all the lives of these people. I want answers to those questions,” Sue Yutzy told Hellgren on Thursday.

The only person the police appointed responsible for Porter’s death was Petrecca.

Police said Petrecca is being looked at in reference to other cases but there is no certainty linking him to any of them.

“Everybody thanked me that Heather’s case was resolved. I did not deal with the case, the police did. I just, I love her. She is my best friend. And that’s what you do,” Yutzy said, recalling how they both loved listening to The Beatles. “Every year on Paul McCartney’s birthday, we literally bake a cake and eat it to celebrate.”

She showed Hellgren the Christmas ornament she bought for the detective. It has his name and the word “hero” written on it.

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“He told me about 10 or 11 months ago that he was going to work this out, and I knew in my heart from his voice, his words and his determination that he was the only one.” Yutzy said. “I can live with the fact that the suspect died because he didn’t live his life. It still hurts. I feel numb. It will take a process. It’s been 40 years.”

https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2021/12/02/a-baltimore-county-woman-pushed-to-find-her-childhood-friends-killer-for-40-years-how-new-dna-evidence-finally-cracked-the-case/ A Baltimore County woman is pressed to find the killer of her childhood friend for 40 years; How New DNA Evidence Finally Broke The Case – CBS Baltimore

JOE HERNANDEZ

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