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Crime News Breaking News

Man Arrested For 1990 Sexual Assault Of 20-Year-Old Tourist Found Dead Near Dumpster

Susan Negersmith, 20, was spending Memorial Day weekend in Wildwood, N.J., with friends in 1990 when she was found dead behind a restaurant dumpster. Jerry Rosado has just been arrested in the case.

By Jill Sederstrom
Susan Negersmith

More than 30 years after a 20-year-old woman on vacation with friends was found dead partially clothed by the dumpsters of a New Jersey restaurant, authorities have arrested the man suspected of sexually assaulting her.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office announced the arrest of Jerry Rosado on Friday after investigators say they were able to match DNA found at the crime scene to the now 62-year-old through genetic genealogy.

“Countless law enforcement professionals and prosecutors have worked on resolving this case over the last [32] years and their collective dedicated effort, in conjunction with the improvements in DNA Technology and Genetic Genealogy Analysis, has led to this long overdue arrest,” Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey H. Sutherland said while announcing the arrest.

Rosado, a resident of Millville, is now facing charges of second-degree sexual assault. Authorities have said additional charges are possible as the investigation continues.

Susan Negersmith, a resident of Carmel, New York, had traveled to Wildwood with friends in 1990 for Memorial Day weekend.

Her body was discovered near the dumpsters behind a Wildwood restaurant on Sunday, May 27, 1990, NJ.com reports. An autopsy would later determine that Negersmith had been sexually assaulted.

Her family told WPVI-TV in 2015 that initially the death was ruled accidental but was changed to homicide three years later after the family had continued to advocate for the case.

They alleged that the town had wanted it “covered up” to protect tourism.

“Who would ever, knowing what happened to a girl, allow their child to go there for a weekend?” her brother Michael Negersmith said.

After examining the autopsy photos years later, renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden determined Negersmith had suffered 26 points of trauma, the local station reported.

“She was just a young girl, 20 years, down with her friends. She didn’t deserve this. No one deserves that,” her sister Emily Negersmith said in 2015.

For more than three decades the case remained unsolved despite what prosecutors described as an “intense investigation” from numerous law enforcement agencies, including the Major Crimes Unit of the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, the Wildwood Police Detective Bureau, the New Jersey State Police Major Crimes Unit and the FBI.

Investigators discovered an unknown DNA profile on Negersmith’s body and compared it to “multiple individuals of interest over the years” but were unable to find a match, prosecutors said.

Over time, the field saw advances in DNA technology and in 2018, the Major Crimes Unit of the prosecutor's office started a genetic genealogy analysis into the DNA profile, which ultimately led them to Rosado, who prosecutors said matched the DNA sample left behind.  

Michael described his sister to WPVI-TV as “a lot of fun.”

“She had a lot of friends,” he said.

The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office has asked that anyone with information about the case to contact authorities.    

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