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Queens Chronicle

A new hope to find Diefenbach’s killer

’88 Rich Hill murder probe reopens

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Posted: Thursday, January 11, 2018 9:00 am

The city Police Department may be able to find out who killed 14-year-old Richmond Hill resident Christine Diefenbach — 30 years after she was found brutally murdered.

NBC News first reported last Friday that the NYPD is once again examining evidence from the case, though they did not tell the outlet what specifically they are looking into.

It’s the second time the police are reopening the probe — the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad picked it up in the mid-1990s, but nothing of significance was discovered.

According to NBC, investigators back then collected DNA samples from two men who may have been at the crime scene, but the science at the time could not link them to the victim. Modern science, however, could provide a lead, the outlet reported.

The NYPD is still asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

The public can also submit tips by logging onto nypdcrimestoppers.com, or by texting 274637 (CRIMES), then entering TIP577. All tips are strictly confidential.

Diefenbach was found dead Feb. 7, 1988 from blunt force trauma to the skull near 89th Avenue between 123rd and 121st streets, on the staircase leading up to the abandoned Long Island Rail Road tracks, The New York Times reported in 1988.

The paper also reported the victim had cuts and bruises on her face and throat.

The teenager, who left her 125th Street home to pick up a newspaper and a gallon of milk, was found with her pants around her ankles and at the time police thought she was sexually assaulted — but NBC reported the evidence could not prove that.

Every major newspaper and TV news outlet covered the killing, which shook the neighborhood and unnerved parents.

“My mother didn’t want me to go to school today,” Jamie Antomattei, a fourth-grader, told the Times.

Diefenbach attended IS 217 in Jamaica, the Grey Lady reported. The principal at the time, Jules Weisler, said the schools had psychiatric workers and psychologists at the building to help students cope with the loss.

“The shock of such an event brings out a kind of terror you seldom see in youngsters,” Weisler said.

The Diefenbach family, who moved to Selden, LI, could not be reached for comment by press time.

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