Photo Courtesy of NYPD
Christine Diefenbach, 14, was found bludgeoned to death on Feb. 7, 1988, around 89th Avenue and 121st Street.
By Michael V. Cusenza
Queens Cold Case sleuths recently reached out to the city via social media for help with cracking a 30-year-old Richmond Hill homicide that jarred even a jaded Gotham.
“On 2/7/1988, 14-year-old Christine Diefenbach was found bludgeoned to death around 89th Ave & 121 St in Richmond Hill, Queens. Our Cold Case detectives haven’t given up on her. Can you help us bring justice to Christine? Anyone with info pls contact @nypdtips at 1-800-577-TIPS,” investigators posted from the NYPD Twitter account on Dec. 23.
According to published reports, Christine ventured out early on that Sunday morning to buy the paper at a newsstand that was roughly a quarter-mile to a half-mile from the Diefenbachs front door. Four hours later, her body was discovered near a Long Island Rail Road overpass that was a popular shortcut for kids at the time.
“She was savagely, savagely beaten to death,” Det. John Roberts told the New York Daily News. “That’s evident. The cause of death was clearly blunt force trauma. I’m sure she fought. I’m sure she tried to scream. She was skinny and young. She was a child.”
Detectives are looking into an anonymous tip called into the 102nd Precinct stationhouse from a defunct bar a few months after the murder. The caller pointed their finger at a neighborhood character known simply as “Tennessee,” claiming that the man told friends that he “f—ed up a girl,” and might have even killed her.
According to the News, Tennessee still lives in the area, “has a history of violence,” but also maintains that he has an alibi for the crime.
Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). All correspondences are strictly confidential.