DNA Evidence Leads Police to Charge Notorious 'Times Square Killer' in Long Island Woman's 1968 Murder
“I never thought I’d see this day. I had given up,” the slain woman's daughter tells Inside Edition. Authorities are now looking into at least five other unsolved cases after the development.
Darlene Altman was just 3 years old when her mother, a 23-year-old dance teacher, was found slain in the backseat of her car at a shopping mall on Long Island, New York.
Diane Cusick was raped, beaten and strangled, but cops found no leads in the brutal murder.
The case went cold for 54 years, until this week, when DNA evidence pointed to notorious serial killer Richard Cottingham.
Cottingam tortured and murdered at least 11 women in New York in the 1960s and 1970s, although he claimed as many as 100 victims.
Cottingam appeared via Zoom at his arraignment, where he pleaded not guilty. Now 75 years old, he is bedridden and frail.
“I never thought I’d see this day. I had given up,” Darlene Altman told Inside Edition.
Cottingham has been known over the years as both the “Times Square Killer” and also the “Torso Killer,” because he dismembered his victims’ head and limbs.
During his murder spree, Cottingham preyed on young prostitutes in New York City, luring them to motel rooms where he mutialted and killed them.
Cottingham evaded the authorities until 1980, when screams from his last known victim led to his capture. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Cottingham has now been linked to Cusick’s murder by DNA evidence. Cusick was just a young mom who went to the mall to buy shoes.
“Richard Cottingham used the guise of being store security, possibly policemen, and he would confront people coming out of the mall,” Nassau County Detective Capt. Stephen Fitzgerald said at a news conference.
Cusick’s father found her body in the backseat of her car.
“It’s amazing what they can do now [with DNA]. I’m amazed,” Altman said.
Based on the new development, authorities are looking into at least five other unsolved murders to see if there’s a connection.
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