2 teens on vacation were killed 46 years ago. An 80-year-old is now under arrest

Article Image

Virginia Beach police have accused an 80-year-old New York man of killing two teens in a case that's gone unsolved for 46 years.

Posted: Apr 11, 2019 1:40 PM
Updated: Apr 11, 2019 1:40 PM

Virginia Beach police have accused an 80-year-old New York man of killing two teens in a case that's gone unsolved for 46 years.

The double homicide dates to 1973, when Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler, both 19, traveled from the Pittsburgh area to Virginia Beach to vacation. They were found dead on June 30 inside their oceanfront motel cottage, and their deaths were ruled homicides, police said.

After an exhaustive investigation, the case went cold, police said. The cottage where the teens were slain was destroyed, then rebuilt into motels and shops.

Last fall, Virginia Beach Police cold case investigators, working with the local prosecutor, began to aggressively research a strong lead in the case, police said.

Police on Monday arrested the accused killer: Ernest Broadnax of New York. He was arrested in New York and charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of rape, police said. Broadnax is awaiting extradition, police said. It was not immediately clear if he had retained an attorney.

Michael Pietropola, brother of victim Janice Pietropola, said he felt "bittersweet" about the arrest. He is happy that justice may finally be served, but it also "opened up deep wounds that had been there since 1973."

"We hope through the trials and proceedings that we will get answers, answers that the police can't even give us right now," Pietropola said, "so we can get some closure, some rationalization of a crazy crime that took the lives of two beautiful teenagers."

Mostly, Pietropola said, he hopes to be able to make some sense of what happened in Virginia Beach in 1973.

"What was going through this guy's mind? What made him pick my sister and her friend? What drove him to this? Those are the questions that as a brother I would want for closure," Pietropola said.

Broadnax served three prison stints in New York for assault, burglary, and attempted burglary, records show. He was released on parole in 2013.

Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera declined to describe what led to Broadnax's arrest, other than saying it was "an advancement in technology that wasn't available X number of years ago. Most of the technology, as you know, that's coming online wasn't available 10 years ago."

Investigators, he said, just kept resubmitting pieces of evidence.

Eventually, that doggedness paid off.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34211

Reported Deaths: 2125
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9761576
Lake3573186
Allen160069
Cass15877
St. Joseph126634
Elkhart126228
Hendricks116671
Hamilton115493
Johnson1097108
Madison58659
Porter53428
Bartholomew50834
Clark49741
LaPorte43023
Howard40428
Tippecanoe3933
Delaware38536
Jackson3821
Shelby37122
Hancock33127
Floyd31839
Boone31635
Morgan27824
Vanderburgh2662
Montgomery23817
White2338
Noble22821
Clinton2271
Decatur22431
Grant21022
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry17211
Greene16924
Vigo1688
Dearborn16821
Monroe16712
Warrick16628
Lawrence15924
Miami1401
Putnam1367
Jennings1304
Kosciusko1271
Orange12622
Scott1193
Franklin1108
Ripley1086
Marshall1021
Carroll932
Daviess8516
Steuben832
Wayne785
Fayette777
Newton7710
Wabash772
LaGrange762
Jasper661
Washington521
Clay511
Jay500
Fulton491
Randolph473
Rush462
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley413
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan351
Owen341
Brown331
Perry320
Wells310
Benton300
Knox280
Huntington272
Tipton251
Blackford252
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke170
Adams171
Posey160
Gibson152
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35033

Reported Deaths: 2149
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin5773260
Cuyahoga4369226
Marion266028
Hamilton2642148
Lucas2241242
Pickaway205037
Mahoning1428174
Summit1390172
Butler87429
Columbiana74352
Stark72391
Lorain67859
Montgomery65616
Trumbull56948
Belmont42812
Warren36621
Miami35530
Tuscarawas3423
Ashtabula33834
Medina33723
Delaware33113
Portage32357
Lake30612
Wood28746
Geauga28232
Clark2776
Wayne27250
Fairfield2596
Licking24310
Allen21132
Mercer2107
Clermont2065
Richland1993
Erie17114
Darke16721
Madison1527
Washington11819
Crawford1144
Morrow1071
Greene1015
Ottawa9916
Putnam9114
Monroe7812
Auglaize733
Sandusky7311
Ross712
Hocking694
Jefferson672
Hardin600
Huron571
Williams541
Union511
Muskingum500
Hancock501
Clinton431
Shelby413
Wyandot402
Fulton400
Fayette400
Logan380
Coshocton380
Guernsey351
Preble351
Holmes341
Defiance332
Lawrence300
Carroll303
Brown281
Champaign271
Knox251
Highland231
Vinton212
Seneca202
Ashland200
Athens181
Perry181
Henry150
Scioto150
Paulding140
Jackson140
Harrison100
Adams91
Gallia91
Van Wert60
Pike60
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 66°
Angola
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 61°
Huntington
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 64°
Van Wert
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 64°
Sunny Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events