Pennsylvania police solve 60-year-old cold case murder of 9-year-old girl

DNA technology led to discovery of killer, deceased since 1980.

Updated: February 12, 2022 - 5:59pm

Pennsylvania authorities have announced the solving of a nearly-six-decade-old murder case, saying they had identified the killer of a 9-year-old girl in 1964.

State police said DNA technology led them to identify James Paul Forte as the killer of Marise Chiverella, who was found dead in the city of Hazleton. 

DNA material was obtained from Chiverella’s clothing in 2007 but did not immediately lead to any matches in criminal databases. In 2019, authorities began checking the sample through genealogical records. 

They were eventually led to members of Forte's family, which resulted in Forte's body being exhumed and the case solved.

Forte had a criminal record, though none of those crimes were as extreme as the killing of Chiverella. 

Chiverella's sister, Carmen Marie Radtke, told news media that the family has "so many precious memories of Marise." 

"At the same time our family will always feel the emptiness and the sorrow of her absence," she said. "Consequently, we will continue to ask ourselves what would have been or could have been."