46 Years After the Crime- Arrest Made in Double Homicide Case

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

The Virginia Beach Police Department Cold Case Unit has made an arrest in a double homicide dating back almost 46 years.

Victims Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler, both 19 years of age at the time, came to Virginia Beach from the Pittsburgh area for summer vacation.  They were staying at a cottage located at 10th St and Atlantic Ave.

On June 30th 1973, both girls were found deceased inside the cottage.  The Medical Examiner's Office ruled both deaths to be homicide.

Unfortunately the case turned cold after exhaustive measures failed to positively identify a suspect. Designated detectives assigned to our department's Cold Case Unit remained diligent throughout the years, following up on leads that came in and seeking out advanced forensic technology, determined to bring justice for the victims and their families.

In the fall of 2018, VBPD Cold Case Investigators, with the support of the Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, began aggressively researching a strong lead they had received in the case. Their dedication and tenacity paid off as they subsequently identified 80-year-old Ernest Broadnax of St. Albans, NY as the perpetrator of these crimes. He was arrested in New York on April 8th, 2019 and charged with 2 counts of second degree murder and 1 count of rape. He is currently awaiting the extradition process.

The Virginia Beach Police Department would like to thank a number of agencies for their assistance with this investigation, which helped facilitate an outcome that will hopefully provide peace to the victims' families. They include: the FBI, NCIS, Virginia State Police, Norfolk PD, NYPD (Queens cold case and Brooklyn Cold Case), Detectives of NYPD's 105th PCT, Queens Office of the District Attorney, NY Department of Corrections, Queens Probation and Parole, Virginia Beach Office of the Commonwealth's Attorney, Virginia Department of Forensic Science, and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.​

MPO Linda J Kuehn

Virginia Beach Police / Public Affairs Officer