State police in Hazleton are releasing more details about the 57-year-old cold case resolved this week. On March 18, 1964, 9-year-old Marise Ann Chiverella was raped and murdered. Her case is deadlocked. The killer’s DNA profile has been checked every month since 2007 against all new DNA data entries. There was a distant family tree match in 2019. In 2020, a genealogist began working on the case. Eventually, state police located their prime suspect, James Paul Ford. He died in 1980, but the DNA matched the crime scene.
FOX56’s Dylan Fearon will have the full story tonight.
Pennsylvania State Police in Hazelton announced today that they have resolved a 57-year-old homicide.
Marise Ann Chiverella was raped and murdered in Hazleton on Wednesday 18 March 1964 when she was only 9 years old. After years of investigation, a suspect was finally identified as the attacker of the brutal crime.
The PSP said the investigation is reviewed annually, and since 2007, the killer’s DNA has been checked every month against all new entries in the DNA database.
A press conference with case information will be held at the Hazle Township Commons Building on Thursday, February 10, 2022 at 10 a.m.
Eric Schubert, a genealogy expert at Parabon Nanolabs who helped find Chiverella’s killer, said the case was multifaceted.
“The initial DNA match had 53 centimorgans or genetic links, which wasn’t much to do. But after a year, we got to 200, and after two years, we got to nearly 1200 centimorgans, and you’d have an uncle or Cousins share,” Schubert explained.
Schubert explained that they had a distant match, from a Weatherly family who donated their DNA, and using samples from that family, they found a match for the 1972 public homicide that led them to Found James Paul Ford.
“We worked together as a team and found the answer, and it was an honor to help in this case,” Schubert said.
According to the PSP, Marise Ann Chiverella was kidnapped, raped and murdered on March 18, 1964. The case has been reviewed annually since 2007. Begin monthly checks of the suspect’s DNA profile against each new entry into the DNA database.
Luzerne County District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce spoke at a news conference about his dedication to the case.
“Dedication to this case is what solved it. It is our greatest regret that we cannot prosecute this man, but as the family has said, he will see revenge,” Sanger Dorsey said.
Ronald Chiverella, accompanied by his family, spoke of law enforcement’s dedication to his sister’s case and personally thanked the “team on the front lines.”
“Pennsylvania State Police have been working on this case for the past 58 years, a special thanks to the frontline team, and our family is very grateful to you,” Chivirella said.