Cold case solved: DNA evidence helps HCSO identify who strangled, killed 23-year-old woman

A homicide investigation dating back to 1993 was solved by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office after one of the initial suspects was identified as the killer.

Roslin Kruse was murdered 30 years ago, according to detectives. 

"In the realm of law enforcement, there are few challenges as daunting as solving a cold case that has lingered for nearly three decades," said Sheriff Chad Chronister in a news release.

According to investigators, Kruse was last seen alive on Nov. 1, 1993 at 13102 Mike Dr., Tampa, Florida. The 23-year-old woman's lifeless body was discovered on the east shoulder of East Bay Road in Gibsonton, Florida, south of Symmes Road.


23-year-old Roslin Kruse's cause of death was strangulation, according to HCSO. Courtesy: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office 

Officials say an autopsy revealed that Kruse's cause of death was strangulation. HCSO detectives discovered that Kruse was seen entering a vehicle with an unknown person during the initial investigation.

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HCSO traced the vehicle to a home on Mike Drive in Tampa where both Kruse and the unknown person entered the premises, according to investigators.

Officials say that no immediate proof of a crime was found, but the interaction between Kruse and the unknown person raised suspicions. According to detectives, the investigation revealed that Michael Rizzo lived just 0.4 miles from where Kruse's body was discovered and had picked her up on the day of the murder.

Investigators say that Rizzo claimed Kruse was alive when he dropped her off and denied having anything to do with her death.

When Rizzo underwent a polygraph exam, officials say it indicated that he was lying. Conflicting accounts from Rizzo's wife and girlfriend at the time complicated the investigation, according to detectives.


Michael Rizzo's mug shot from a previous dug arrest. Courtesy: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

The sheriff's office says the forensic evidence, including an unknown DNA sample on Kruse's body, was collected and stored in a database. Officials say even with exhaustive searches, no matches were found until recently.

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According to HCSO, the biological daughter of Rizzo was approached for a DNA swab. Investigators say the results were a match for the DNA profile recovered from Kruse's body.

Detectives and special investigators concluded that Micheal Rizzo was responsible for the death of Kruse. However, cold case investigators verified that Rizzo died on March 1, 2011, in Orange County, Florida.

The sheriff's office met with the relatives of Roslin Kruse in Ponte Vedra, Florida to inform them of their findings and the resolution of the case face-to-face.

"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 with some closure."

The investigation has been officially closed by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.