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Cold case cracked: Hazleton residents, family get answers 57 years later

Who killed Marise Chiverella? The question has been lingering in the minds of the people of Hazleton for more than a half-century.

HAZLETON, Pa. — State police are promising answers in the decades-old case of nine-year-old Marise Ann Chiverella of Hazleton.

On March 18, 1964, Marise Chiverella was walking along West Fourth Street in Hazleton on her way to school. She was last seen at about 8:10 that morning. Several hours later, she would be found dead.

Her body was found in a strip mine pit in Hazle Township. Investigators said she was beaten, raped, and murdered. 

The news sent shockwaves through the community. Jeweler Jake Ripa was the same age as Marise and lived a few blocks away.

"The innocence of youth in the community was gone. That was it," Ripa said. "There was no more, 'I'm going down to my friend's house.' Mom and dad were like, 'we'll take you.'"

The case went cold until 2007 when DNA from Marise's body and clothing were entered into a national database. 

RELATED: 57-year-old Hazleton cold case solved

We spoke with Marise's now-deceased mother, Mary, in 2009. With no DNA matches, she was still left to wonder who killed her daughter.

"She's on my mind every day," Chiverella told us. "Things we do, or somebody say something, it always reminds me of her."

The next big progress in the case wouldn't come until more than a decade later. In 2018, Advancements in technology helped create photo renderings using the suspect's DNA, predicting what he would've looked like at age 25, 40, and 60. 

With that profile, state police now said they've cracked this 57-year-old case, bringing a family closure.

"If the police have already notified them about who the person was, I'm sure bubbling beneath the surface is a lot of hatred for this person and what he took away from that family," Ripa said. "You always look at, you know, what could've been."

State police will reveal the suspects' identity at a news conference on Thursday morning. The Chiverella family declined to comment.

RELATED: Troopers Using DNA Technology to Find Cold-case Killer

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