DNA Leads to Identification of Human Head Found in Jersey Golf Course in 1989

The human head found in a golf course in New Jersey back in 1989 has been identified as belonging to 25-year-old Heidi Balch.

The beautiful woman had fallen into a life of prostitution and disease as her head tested positive for the HIV virus. In this particular cold case, it was never questioned who her killer was – Joel Rifkin aka “Joel the Ripper”. Rifkin killed Balch early into this murder spree where he is believed to have taken the lives of as many as seventeen prostitutes until his capture. Rifkin admitted to killing Balch and leaving her remains in separate locations.

However, he was able to identify her only by the pseudonym of “Susie”. It wasn’t until DNA testing that Balch was finally identified. However, before the DNA testing could be performed, police had to find a relative. It was diligent detective work that led police to find lead regarding a “Susan Spencer”.

They eventually tracked down Balch’s aunt who both confirmed that her niece used the name of “Susan Spencer” and identified her by the photograph of her severed head. It was then that police were able to obtain the additional DNA needed to complete the testing and positively identify the remains.


Cold Case Solved As Severed Head Discovered On NJ Golf Course In 1989 Is Identified