TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — On Nov. 1, 1993, Roslin Kruse was found dead on the shoulder on East Bay Road in Gibsonton after being strangled to death.
Now, nearly 30 years later, Hillsborough County detectives said they identified the man they believed murdered the 23-year-old woman thanks to a “significant breakthrough.”
“In the realm of law enforcement, there are few challenges as daunting as solving a cold case that has lingered for nearly three decades,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
Kruse was last seen alive on Nov. 1, 1993, entering a vehicle with “an unknown person.” The sheriff’s office traced this vehicle to a home on Mike Drive in Tampa.
Investigators learned that Michael Rizzo, who lived less than a mile from where the victim’s body was found, picked up Kruse on the day of her death, but he said she was alive the last time he saw her.
Deputies said a polygraph examination and conflicting accounts between Rizzo and his girlfriend found that he was not being truthful.
However, a breakthrough came in November 2021 when investigators asked Rizzo’s daughter for a DNA swab. By this point, Rizzo had already died on March 1, 2011, in Orange County.
Detectives said the daughter’s DNA showed a match with an unknown DNA sample that was found on Kruse’s body. After 29 years of investigation, authorities identified Rizzo as the man who strangled Kruse to death.
Detectives informed Kruse’s family in Ponte Vedra, Florida, after closing the case, allowing them to finally know who killed her.
“This investigation demonstrates the commitment of our cold case investigators to bring justice to victims and their families, no matter how much time has passed,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “We extend our deepest condolences to Ms. Kruse’s family, and we hope the resolution of this case can provide them some closure.”