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NBC 4 New York has learned there may be a big break in the eight-year murder investigation of Juilliard student Sarah Fox. Police have a DNA link between an Occupy Wall Street protest and the scene of Fox's murder. Jonathan Dienst reports.
The DNA found on a chain used in a recent Occupy Wall Street protest -- matching DNA found at the murder scene of a Juilliard student killed in Inwood eight years ago -- does not belong to a man police still consider a leading person of interest in the slaying, sources said.
The DNA of the crime-scene detective who handled the chain has also been ruled out, sources said Wednesday.
NBC 4 New York reported first on Tuesday that DNA evidence from the scene of Sarah Fox's murder in Inwood Hill Park in 2004 has been connected to DNA from the chain left at the Carroll Street F station in Brooklyn at 7:05 a.m. on March 28.
Sources said a surveillance video, which police have not released, shows a male with a mask, wearing a blue jacket, exiting the station.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday that he could not comment on the case.
Fox was found nude and strangled in the park in May 2004, days after she disappeared during a daytime jog. Investigators recovered her pink CD player in the woods just yards from her body.
Dimitry Sheinman, 47, has long been considered a suspect in the Fox murder. He was never charged in the case and has been living in South Africa.
Sheinman recently returned to New York City, proclaiming to be a clairvoyant with knowledge of the killer's identity. He asked to meet with police to give them information about the alleged killer; the details he offered are unknown.
Sources said Sheinman remains a leading person of interest. His DNA, which police have on file, was not found on the chain or at the 2004 murder scene.
He did not respond to a request for comment.
In March, protesters chained open emergency gates and taped up turnstiles in eight subway stations and posted fliers encouraging passengers to enter for free.
A "communique" posted online later that day by the "Rank and File Initiative" described the act as a protest against service cuts, fare hikes and transit employees' working conditions.
It was attributed to "teams of activists, many from Occupy Wall Street... with rank and file workers from the Transport Workers Union Local 100 and the Amalgamated Transit Union."
"I hope the person or persons who killed this young woman are found and brought to justice," said Bill Dobbs, a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street. "We don't know anything about it... I hope no one jumps to any conclusions."
No one was arrested in the March subway protest incidents. Police are continuing to investigate, and are now working to try to identify the source of the DNA found in common with the chain and the CD player.
There's no immediate evidence that the DNA belongs to the protesters who chained open the gates.
Dr. Lawrence Koblinsky, a forensics expert at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the DNA link could potentially break the Fox cold case.
“You’ve got the same DNA left at two distinct sites," said Kobilinsky. "Until they find the individual who left that DNA, we won’t know. But the likelihood is high the person who left that DNA on the CD player is the killer of Sarah Fox.”
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