Darlene Altman, just three years old, was killed by her mother, a dance teacher at the age of 23 in Long Island.
Diane Cusick was raped and beaten, then strangled by cops, but no leads were found in the brutal murder.
The case was closed for 54 years. DNA evidence showed that Richard Cottingham was the serial killer.
Cottingam tortured and killed at least 11 New York women in the 1960s & 1970s. However, he claimed more than 100 victims.
Cottingam appeared via Zoom to his arraignment where he pleaded guilty. He is now 75 and is in a state of frailty.
“I never thought I’d see this day. I had given up,” Darlene Altman told Inside Edition.
Cottingham has been known throughout the years as the “The Man” and the “The Woman”. “Times Square Killer”Also, the “Torso Killer,” because he dismembered his victims’ head and limbs.
Cottingham was a serial killer who preyed upon young prostitutes in New York City. He lured them into motel rooms and murdered them.
Cottingham managed to evade authorities until 1980 when screams of his last victim led him to be arrested. He was sentenced at the age of 30 to life imprisonment.
Cottingham has now been linked to Cusick’s murder by DNA evidence. Cusick was a young mother who bought shoes at the mall.
“Richard Cottingham used the guise of being store security, possibly policemen, and he would confront people coming out of the mall,”The Nassau County Detective Captain. Stephen Fitzgerald stated this at a press conference.
Cusick’s father found her body in the backseat of her car.
“It’s amazing what they can do now [with DNA]. I’m amazed,”Altman stated.
Based on the new development, authorities are looking into at least five other unsolved murders to see if there’s a connection.