NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — An unidentified female body found in 1995 off Hartford Road in New Britain now has a name, and a 70-year-old Ohio man has been charged with murdering her and her mother nearly 20 years ago.
Elizabeth Honsch was 17 when her body was found wrapped up in trash bags and sleeping bags on Sept. 28, 1995, police said. The body of her mother, Marcia Honsch, was found on Oct. 6, 1995, in Tolland, Mass, about 40 miles apart, police said. Marcia Honsch would have been 53 or 54 years old in 1995. Both had been shot in the head and it was believed the killings were related, police said.
Robert Honsch, now 70, of Dalton, Ohio, is charged with separate counts of murder in Massachusetts and Connecticut. New Britain Police said they worked with the Massachusetts State Police in the investigation, which led them to the upstate New York area.
“Over the years there were no reports of missing persons that seemed to corresponded to either victim. Evidence collected in the Massachusetts scene led investigators to believe the two unidentified females had some connection to the upstate New York area. Through the combined efforts of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Lab, the Massachusetts State Police Forensic Lab and the Forensic lab at the University of North Texas, DNA did ultimately connect the two crimes. DNA testing confirmed the New Britain victim was the likely daughter of the Tolland MA victim. Still, no mother and daughter were reported as missing,” police said.
Further efforts to identify the women were unsuccessful until June 2014, when the relatives of the mother and daughter reported reported them missing to New York State Police, police said. The family, from Dutchess County, N.Y., said the mother and daughter disappeared from the Brewster, N.Y., area in late 1995. The two were living with Honsch at the time, and Elizabeth was his daughter.
From there investigators tracked him down to Ohio, where he was living under an alias with his current wife and family, police said.
Investigators interviewed and executed search warrants on Honsch in Ohio, from which evidence was found connecting him to the New Britain crime scene, police said.
“This investigation has been long in years, but never cold. Investigators from numerous agencies have worked long hours to bring the person to justice who killed these two women. Some investigators have retired; while others have been involved with this case much of their careers,” police said. “It was the tireless efforts of personnel from the Connecticut State Police Forensic Lab, the New Britain State’s Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police, Hampden County CPAC Unit, the New York State Police, Ohio Law Enforcement and the New Britain Police Department that brought about today’s arrest.”
“No longer will these homicide victims be referred to as ‘Jane Doe.’ They will be known as Elizabeth and Marcia, daughter and mother,” police said.
Honsch faces extradition hearings, first to face the Massachusetts charges, police said.