TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – On Nov. 1, 1993, Roslin Kruse was found dead on the shoulder of a road in Gibsonton, Florida, having been strangled to death.
Now, nearly 30 years later, detectives in Hillsborough County say they have 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 in Tampa.
Investigators said a man named Michael Rizzo, who lived less than a mile from where the victim’s body was found, had picked up Kruse on the day of her death. But Rizzo, too, had maintained 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.
Rizzo was never convicted, and ultimately died on March 1, 2011, in Orange County.
Then, a breakthrough came in November 2021, when investigators obtained a DNA sample from Rizzo’s daughter. Her sample matched an unknown DNA sample that was found on Kruse’s body.
After nearly 30 years, this evidence allowed authorities to positively identify Rizzo as the man who strangled Kruse to death.
Detectives spoke to Kruse’s family in Ponte Vedra, Florida, after closing the case.
“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.”