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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Family and friends of two Penn Hills women who were murdered in 1973 say they’re grateful to see the cold case solved in their lifetime.

Loved ones say not a day had gone by in the last 46 years that they didn’t think about the loss of Lynn Seethaler and Janice Pietropola.

The Penn Hills graduates were both 19 years old when they were brutally murdered while on vacation in Virginia Beach in 1973. Their bodies were found in an oceanfront motel.

Cold case detectives called the families Monday night with the news that they charged 80-year-old Ernest Broadnax with the women’s murders.

“Unfortunately for victims’ families, this is a life sentence. Whether the perpetrator is caught or not, it lives with you. Her memory lives with us, and we are just very grateful that we were alive to see this come to justice. We had accepted, basically, that we would all go to our graves without knowing who actually did this,” Michael Pietropola, Janice’s brother, said.

Police say investigators were dedicated to solving the case.

“They diligently followed up on a number of leads and continually resubmitted evidence as technology advanced and their effort was to bring justice to the victims, to families and to hold the perpetrator accountable,” Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera said.

Watch Kym Gable’s report —

 

Valerie Devere worked with Lynn at a credit reporting agency in Pittsburgh. She now lives in Houston.

“When I talked to the police in Virginia Beach, they were under the impression that it was somebody that I knew. How they came up with that, they weren’t real specific, but they were connected to that for a while,” Devere said.

She’s relieved that she did not know the suspect. She says she would typically vacation with Seethaler and Pietropola, but she decided not to go to Virginia Beach that summer.

“At some point in time, where, you know, some of this would come up, I knew with all the technology out there, this is going to be solved, and I was just hoping in my lifetime it would be solved. I would hate to have left this earth not knowing that justice had not been served for the both of them,” Devere said.

Broadnax is also being investigated in connection with at least eight other killings. The victims are all young white women who were reported missing or murdered in that area during that time.