New DNA advance technology was used to solve a 50-year-old case. The evidence connected the ‘The Torso Killer’ to the murder of Diane Cusick, who was raped and brutally murdered in 1968.

Richard Cottingham aka ‘The Torso Killer’, is currently in jail serving a life sentence for other crimes. Police believe he has killed eleven women. Now, they can add Diana Cusick’s to the list of his known victims.

‘The Torso Killer’ pleaded not guilty to killing Cusick. However, the state’s attorney says Cottingham’s DNA was lifted from the crime scene in 1968 and was preserved for five decades patiently waiting for science to catch up. In 2016, the DNA was submitted for testing. Once results were published, the DA requested the lab to test it again. The results pointed to Cottingham as the killer in Diana Cusick’s murder.

Her family said during a press conference that they had given up hope on receiving justice for Diana. Her family thanked law enforcement for never giving up on solving the crime.


“We believe this may be the oldest DNA hit to lead to a prosecution in the United States,” Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said to CBS news.

In 1968, Cusick left her 4-year-old daughter with her parents and when to buy shoes at the mall. She was a dance teacher. Hours went by and Diana never returned home. Her body was discovered severely beaten in the back seat of her car, not far from the mall. For over 50 years, her murder remained unsolved.

‘The Torso Killer’ was in his early 20’s around the time of her murder and it’s possible Diana Cusick could have been his first.

The life of the notorious killer is now a documentary on Netflix, titled ‘Times Square Killer.’

Richard Cottingham raped and murdered at least 12 women in New York and New Jersey between 1968 and 1980. Though, Cottingham confessed to a journalist that number is more between 80 and 100 kills. He was arrested in the 80s at a motel, torturing another young woman.

Cottingham was married, father of three, who worked as a computer specialist at Blue Cross Blue Shield during the time of the murders.

Click Here Check Out Our Podcast Series on the Torso Killer/Richard Cottingham!

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By Jolene Grace

Jolene Grace was a journalist for ten years, interning for CBS evening news, working as a beat report for Oklahoma Public radio, and eventually transitioning into managing digital content for a radio corporation. Currently, she writes crime fiction full time and blogs for the Crime Room. Jolene is fortunate enough to be able to tell the stories of those who no longer can. She’s passionate to write about cold cases being solved. You can read her blogs on thecrimeroom.com or listen to The Crime Room Podcast wherever in the world you happened to be. Let’s Talk Crime.

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