Cold case unit finds major breakthrough in 1994 murder of East Liberty woman

PITTSBURGH — In this East Liberty neighborhood, Florence Simon is remembered as a smiling face who always opened her doors to others.

Channel 11 spoke with one woman who said “Flo” was the first to buy Girl Scout cookies from her every year. But in 1994 that all changed.

“She was 68 years old when she was brutally strangled inside her home in the 700 block of North St. Clair Street,” said Detective George Satler with Pittsburgh Police.

At the time, the home was broken into apartments. Police believe the motive was robbery, but all the investigation led to was a number of unidentifiable fingerprints.

“George had asked me to look at some of these fingerprints and as a result, we had a suspect that was identified. It’s a latent fingerprint from a latent lift from those detectives back then. So we searched it through a database and have a latent fingerprint and a known fingerprint,” said John Godlewski with Pittsburgh Police.

Now, 28 years later and there is a suspect in this cold case thanks to advancements in technology to rerun these prints. Plus, a new cold case unit is digging back through these cases.

While police aren’t identifying the suspect yet, they are confident the person is no longer a threat.

“We work in conjunction with the district attorney’s office and as long as the DA’s office believes there is enough, we will get a warrant for this individual,” Satler said.

As for Simon’s family, the detectives said they have spoken to them, and they are excited their loved one was not forgotten about, even 28 years later.

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