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Bristol County DA reviewing unsolved homicides with new technology, including that of Margaret Pizio



Despite the pandemic, the Bristol District Attorney’s Office Unsolved Unit has remained very active as it continues to review every unsolved homicide that has occurred in Bristol County since 1974.

In each case, a thorough examination of all reports, witness statements, and physical evidence is undertaken. Dramatic developments in scientific and forensic technology have provided new avenues for investigators to pursue. The rapidly developing field of genetic genealogy (combining DNA analysis with genealogy) now allows previously unknown perpetrators of many serious violent crimes to be identified. This same technology used to identify the Golden State Killer in California was recently used by the Bristol District Attorney’s Office and led to the arrest of Ivan Keith for a series of unsolved rapes that occurred in Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk counties in the 1990s. Keith had evaded being identified and apprehended for more than 20 years, but as a result of this technology, he was arrested in Maine where he was living under a false name. He is currently in custody being held without bail while he awaits trial.

Additionally, recent developments in forensic technology make it possible to collect DNA from evidence in circumstances where DNA collection was not previously possible. This technology allows us to gather evidence from items today in furtherance of our unsolved investigations. District Attorney Quinn’s Cold Case Unit is reviewing every item of evidence from every homicide over the last 45 years to determine whether new leads can be developed from employing these new methods to appropriate items of evidence.

District Attorney Quinn is encouraged by the new technology and its potential to help solve these cases. Although recognizing these advances in technology, District Attorney Quinn believes that many cases are still solved “the old-fashioned way” by relying on citizens to do what is right and provide information that may be critical to solving a case.

“These are some of the worst cases we see, and many families have waited for years hoping for answers and some measure of justice,” District Attorney Quinn said “I remain committed to ensuring that this office is doing everything it can with respect to available resources and technology to solve these important cases.”

District Attorney Quinn believes that by highlighting these cases, the victims will be remembered and citizens will be reminded of these terrible crimes. He knows from experience that in many murder cases, there are people who have information that could be helpful but have kept silent for a variety of reasons. “It is never too late to do the right thing” District Attorney Quinn said. “We hope that anyone with this information will finally decide to break that silence by coming forward.”

The latest case being highlighted by the DA office as they begin the process of re-testing and re-examining evidence connected to it, is the grisly 1979 slaying of Margaret Pizio in Seekonk.

Margaret Pizio, a 35-year-old woman from the Riverside section of East Providence, RI, was found beaten and stabbed to death on the morning of August 20, 1979, at the Susse Chalet on Route 6 in Seekonk, where she was working as a clerk. The medical examiner found that the manner of death was homicide. The victim was the mother of four children, the oldest of whom was 13 at the time of her death. The Seekonk Police investigated the case along with the Massachusetts State Police and the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators considered robbery as a possible motive and developed persons of interest as possible suspects, but no definitive suspect was identified, and to date, no charges have been brought in connection with this murder.

The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office Unsolved Unit and the Massachusetts State Police are reviewing all of the physical evidence collected in the case for testing and retesting, locating witnesses and persons of interest to determine if they are alive and in the area, and pursuing all investigative leads that develop.

If you have information relating to this crime​, we urge you to contact Massachusetts State Police Lt. Ann Marie Robertson at 508-961-1918, the Massachusetts State Police Unresolved Cases Tip Line at 855-MA-SOLVE (855-627-6583) or by taking advantage of the district attorney’s anonymous text-a-tip program. To anonymously text a tip to us, text the word “Bristol” to the phone number CRIMES (274637). Then just text us your tip. You can also submit a web-based anonymous tip by going to Submit a Web Tip. According to the DA, these tip programs are completely anonymous and your personal information will never be seen by our investigators or anyone else.

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