- (Photo: Reuters/File)
A serial killer's victim, whose head was found on a New Jersey golf course nearly 25 years ago, has finally been identified by police, authorities have said on Wednesday.
The woman, who was a victim of a notorious Long Island serial killer, has been identified as Heidi Balch, and is thought to be the first victim of Joel Rifkin.
Rifkin went on a four year killing spree in which he killed 17 women. He was finally brought to justice when he was pulled over by New Jersey State Police for a missing license plate in 1993. Officers inspected his car and found a women's dead body in the back of his pick up.
Authorities have been convinced that the woman, whose head was found in March 1989 on a golf course in Hopewell Township, near Trenton, was the serial killer's first victim.
After Rifkin was arrested in 1993 he described where he disposed of the woman's head and legs, however, authorities were never able to identify the woman until now. Rifkin had told investigators that he knew the victim was a prostitute named "Susie."
Balch's parents had not reported her missing as she was known to have used several aliases and multiple social security numbers, operating as a prostitute in New York City.
Rifkin went on to be sentenced to more than 200 years for the murders.
State Police Det. Sgt. Stephen Urbanski has said, "It's very rare that you have a story like this. The first thing is to ID the body, and then you move on with the investigation, you look at acquaintances and things like that. In this one, the answers were there all along, we just had to put them together," according to WFLX.
Heidi Balch was finally listed as a missing person in 2001 by her aunt.
Balch was finally identified as the victim when investigator's found her mom and dad and conducted DNA tests, confirming her identity.
Here is a video documentary on Joel Rifkin: