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Who Killed Zita Johnson? New Details On 26-Year Unsolved Murder Of The Boston Woman

Who Killed Zita Johnson? New Details On 23-Year Unsolved Murder Of Boston Woman

Outside of the show Unsolved Mysteries, plenty of homicides go unsolved for months, years, and even decades. With a lack of evidence, technology, and witnesses, police struggle to put the pieces together and get justice for victims. And as the years pass, questions surrounding an investigation become more and more impossible to answer.

Such is the case with one unsolved murder that has had no suspects or viable evidence for 26 years. Who killed Zita Johnson? Her violent death left her family and investigators at a loss.

On December 9, 1992, 67-year-old Johnson was found on the floor of her Boston, Massachusetts apartment. 

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She had an extension cord wrapped around her neck, blood on her face, and bruises all over her body. On her chest, there appeared to be a shoe imprint. According to police, from the looks of the crime scene, the murderer stood on Johnson and pulled the extension cord until she died.

“You put something around somebody’s neck and pull it tight, they don’t immediately blackout. They know what’s going on. There’s suffering going on there. Somebody was mad. Somebody was angry,” said Boston Police Homicide Sgt. Detective, William Doogan.

But who could kill an elderly woman like this, and why? For Johnson’s family, they are desperate to find answers, even after all this time. Said Joy Viola, Zita’s daughter, “It kind of destroyed the whole family. Even after all these years, it’s bad. And it’s been years.”

However, her family also points out an important clue in her murder: Zita loved jewelry, but none of it was missing, and the apartment was not ransacked.

Said Viola, “She loved it... jewelry, jewelry, jewelry! It was everywhere.” She also kept her expensive jewelry carefully hidden in her home. “She hid it in the oven, up underneath the oven, in the stove. She kept [it] in between her clothes, in crown royal bags, she’d hide it in between her clothes, stuffed in there, up in her drawers. She’d hide all the good stuff.”

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But the Boston police tell a different story, saying her expensive jewelry was stolen, while the costume jewelry was not. “There wasn’t much of anything that was out of place. Usually, if you get somebody going into a house with the intent of robbing it, they don’t know where everything is: drawers are pulled out, things are tipped over, containers are spilled out. There was none of that,” Sgt. Doogan indicated.

Another clue her family has focused on is that there didn’t seem to be a struggle to enter the apartment, as the windows and door were not damaged. Could it have been someone she knew?

Her grandson, Ron Baldassari, commented, “She didn’t trust people. She was that kind of suspicious type of person. She didn’t trust the world or people.” And Viola agreed, adding, “She always had that fear that someone was going to come in, and something was going to happen to her. It’s ironic... Whoever went in and did this, knew that she would open the door for them. She would never open the door for just anybody.”

That’s exactly why her family believes the killer was someone she knew.

Still, Zita’s murder remains unsolved, leaving her family with continual questions and no closure. As Baldassari said, “Year after year after year, you constantly go through who is it, who could it be? You get your thoughts of a potential suspect. Is it a family member? Is it a friend? It’s a weird feeling to go through this year after year.”

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.