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Queens Chronicle

Police resurrect cold murder case

Bowne High School student was strangled, her body found in Bayside

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Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:41 am, Thu Aug 28, 2014.

A 40-year-old cold case murder of a Flushing teen in Bayside is being fired up anew by the NYPD.

Police are asking the public’s help in solving the murder of Leslie Zaret, 17, whose body was found on the PS 203 playground on Springfield Boulevard in Bayside on Aug. 17, 1974.

Her body had been stripped and the cause of death was strangulation. Leslie’s clothing, a blue blouse with a flower print, jeans and beige platform shoes, were in a pile nearby.

According to police, the teen was last seen the evening before, visiting a friend at 148-18 58 Ave. in Flushing. She left around midnight and was walking to her home at 138-54 68 St.

Police say she stopped off briefly at a bar at 59-20 Main St. to find her boyfriend. He was not considered a suspect in the case.

From there it is believed the victim walked south, passing her high school, John Bowne, and met her attacker a few blocks from her home.

Officials think she entered a car knowing the driver. The murder scene was four miles away.

Evidence showed that Zaret was not raped or had sex, but that she had been abused with a hairbrush. Police have partial DNA from the brush.

Police followed several leads but nothing came of it. Impetus for resurrecting the case is due to NYPD Chief Joanne Jaffe, who also was a teenager in Bayside when Leslie was killed, according to published reports.

Jaffe and the Queens District Attorney’s Office are reaching out to Zaret’s high school classmates for any information, no matter how trivial. Jaffe heads the Community Affairs Bureau.

It has also been reported that police will re-examine evidence that was taken in 2006 when the body was exhumed for DNA testing. They hope advances in technology will improve their chances this time.

Leslie is described as having been popular in her high school class and had plans to attend Queensborough Community College in Bayside when she graduated.

Anyone with information should call (800) 577-TIPS. A reward of up to $12,000 is being offered for information that would lead to a conviction.

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