Suspect in 1973 killings of 2 women in VB, now 80, arrested in New York

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Lynn Seethaler and Janice Pietropola

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Police now say their oldest cold case is solved.

Nearly 46 years later, the families of two women murdered at the Oceanfront are getting closure.

The suspect in the case is now 80 years old.

He’s been identified as Ernest Broadnax, who’s facing two counts of second-degree murder and one count of rape.

Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera said the arrest brings closure not only to the family, but to current and former detectives too.

“Even though it’s a 45-year-old case, we finally brought it to conclusion to bring closure to the detectives back in the day who worked the case, to give closure to the family members that are still around and to make sure that this individual is held accountable for his actions,” he said.

On Monday, New York City police arrested Broadnax for the killings off 19-year-old Lynn Seethaler and 19-year-old Janice Pietropola.

In June of 1973, both came to Virginia Beach from Pittsburgh to vacation at the Oceanfront but they never made it back. Police found the women brutally murdered inside their vacation cottage.

Police Chief Jim Cervera said detectives remained committed to the case.

“It was a continual re-submission of evidence that we do on a periodic basis for all of our cases. Technology keeps increasing,” he said.

READ: Arrest Warrant for Ernest Broadnax

Investigators got a break last fall. Cervera wouldn’t give specifics but he said it led them to the suspect.

“I’m just going to say an advancement in technology that wasn’t available “X” number of years ago,” he said.

We’re told the victim’s families were notified of the arrest.

“Obviously they’ve got closure. So for any victim’s family there’s a sense of closure, there’s a sense that we reopened a certain wound and we are working with the families as we go through the case,” Cervera said.

Cervera said former detectives have closure too.

“They were elated that we were able to bring this case to resolve,” he said. “You know these detectives here take a lot of this personally. They take it home with them. They live with them and when they retire they say ‘what’s the one thing you wish?’ I wish I could’ve solved.’”

Virginia Beach police said this arrest was a joint effort with the commonwealth attorney’s office and several other agencies.

Broadnax is waiting to be extradited.

There’s no clear timeline yet as to when that will happen but we will be sure to let you know when it does.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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