A look inside the investigation into the 1979 murder of Janet Walsh in her Monaca, Pa., bedroom -- a case that would take 34 years to solve.
In the summer of 1979, Catherine Janet Walsh was 23 years old and living alone for the first time. On Aug. 31, Janet, as she was called by friends and family, was heading out for a night on the town with a group of girlfriends.
Never Far From Home
A resident of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, her entire life, Janet, center, never lived far from her parents.
High School Sweethearts
Janet, 20, married her high school sweetheart, Scott Walsh, also 20, in the summer of 1976. After a short marriage, the couple separated due to financial pressure. Scott remained in the couple’s house, and Janet moved out and rented an apartment in the town of Monaca, near Pittsburgh.
Janet Walsh Murdered
Sometime in the early morning hours of September 1, after a night out with friends, Janet was murdered. The news was devastating to her loved ones, and was a big story in the otherwise quiet community in western Pennsylvania.
Not a Break-in
The case was investigated, and documented by the Pennsylvania State Police, and it became apparent to detectives that Janet probably knew her killer.
The Crime Scene
Janet was discovered in her bed, with her arms bound and a sheet covering her. Her father found her body after her boss called to say that she hadn’t made it to work that morning.
The condition of Janet’s body was the first clue to the sexual nature of the crime.
The Crime Scene
Janet’s bedroom was otherwise undisturbed; an ironing board was left standing with clothes draped over it.
Robbery Ruled Out
On Janet’s dresser, her jewelry and other items remained untouched, as well. Robbery would be ruled out, and detectives would continue to believe that Janet was intimately involved with her murderer.
A Time Capsule
Janet’s pocketbook was documented and placed into evidence, where it would remain for 34 years. The items inside were preserved, as they were that summer.
A light blue bandana was wrapped around Janet’s neck, and investigators would conclude that her killer had pulled on it, strangling her to death.
Janet’s parents, Joe and Mary, would enter their golden years, and, sadly, pass on before seeing justice for their daughter.
Janet's Big Brother
Likewise, Janet’s older brother, Joe, who was in his early 30s when she was killed, would also pass away before seeing Janet’s killer come to justice.
Janet’s younger brother, Francesco, was the only member of their family left in 2012. He would be Janet’s spokesperson, as well as his family’s spokesperson.
“In my heart of hearts, knowing that Janet’s kind of not been at rest, not been at peace because this person’s still walking around and might do it to somebody else or whatever, but not met justice yet,” he told “48 Hours.”
Francesco held on to all of his mother’s documents after her death, which included numerous headlines related to Janet’s case.
Francesco would also keep his mother’s calendars. The entry on Sept. 1, 1979 reads, “Janet gone.”
Janet’s best friend from childhood, Susan Niedergal, remembers her friend fondly. The women grew up together and Sue remembers Janet as being like a little sister to her.
Det. Andrew Gall was the first officer on the scene of Janet’s murder. Det. Gall would remain on the case until it closed three decades later, and remembers every detail of the case, including the long list of suspects.
Suspect No. 1
As is often the case, Janet’s estranged husband, Scott Walsh, was the first suspect in Janet’s murder. Walsh was seen at Janet’s house in the daylight hours of Sept. 1. He claimed to be dropping off a support check, as was his custom after the separation.
Suspect No. 2
The second suspect, Robert McGrail, danced with Janet the night of Aug. 30, 1979, into the morning of Sept. 1. McGrail asked Janet for a ride home, which he says she refused. The most damning evidence against McGrail would be his checkbook, which was found in the gutter a few blocks from Janet’s house, with no use after the night of Aug. 30.
Suspect No. 3
The third suspect would never be identified. Janet’s neighbor remembers a man who knocked on his door asking where Janet Walsh lived on the night of her death. The man’s sketch was released in area newspapers.
Suspect No. 4
The fourth suspect, Janet’s boss, would admit to having a sexual relationship with her.
Suspect No. 5
The fifth suspect, Scott Hopkins, was a local home builder, who would remain a prominent member of the community. He and Walsh had a secret relationship the summer of 1979, which he says ended before her death.
Suspect No. 6
Victor Cicozzi would become the sixth and final suspect in 1980s, when he mentioned to a waitress that the Walsh crime scene “didn’t have a hair out of place.”
Scott Hopkins Convicted
After a 34-year investigation, DNA evidence would lead to Scott Hopkins being charged with murder. Hopkins was convicted of third-degree murder with a sentence of eight to 16 years.
A Bittersweet Celebration
After Scott Hopkins’ conviction, three of the men championing for Janet’s case join a group of her loved ones for a bittersweet celebration.