Detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office have closed a 1993 cold case involving the killing of 23-year-old Roslin Kruse.
Kruse was last seen alive on Nov. 1, 1993, at 13102 Mike Drive near Tampa, near the University of South Florida Forest Preserve.
Her body was discovered later that day on the east shoulder of East Bay Road in Gibsonton, south of Symmes Road. During the initial investigation, officials said they suspected that Kruse was killed elsewhere and then her body was left by the side of the road.
Kruse was strangled to death, according to an autopsy.
Detectives’ investigation showed Kruse had gotten into a vehicle with an unknown individual on the day she died, and they traced that vehicle to a home on Mike Drive, which “raised suspicions,” according to a Friday news release from the Sheriff’s Office.
Michael Rizzo, who lived less than half-mile from where Kruse’s body was found, had picked her up on the day she was slain, the Sheriff’s Office said. He had told investigators he dropped her off alive and denied being involved in her death.
Polygraph results cast doubts on his story, according to the release, and “conflicting accounts from Rizzo’s wife and girlfriend at the time further complicated the investigation.”
Decades later, DNA evidence found on Kruse’s body after her death was linked to Rizzo, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Rizzo died March 1, 2011, in Orlando, according to an obituary posted in the Orlando Sentinel.
In November 2021, investigators asked Rizzo’s biological daughter for a DNA swab, and the results showed it matched the DNA profile recovered from Kruse’s body.
“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,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a news release Friday. “We extend our deepest condolences to Ms. Kruse’s family, and we hope the resolution of this case can provide them with some closure.”
Detectives met face-to-face with Kruse’s relatives in Ponte Vedra to report their findings and that they had closed the case.
Times staffer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.