Action News 5 Investigates: The Case of the Missing Heiress
VICKSBURG, MS (WMC-TV) - DNA evidence could be the key to solving the case of a missing heiress with Mid-South ties.
Jacqueline Levitz, 62, was the glamorous widow of furniture chain founder Ralph Levitz. Jackie, as she was known, vanished from her Vicksburg home 13 years ago, in 1995, the same year her husband died.
Just before her death, the socialite had moved from Palm Beach to Vicksburg to be near her family. She bought a house that sits on a bluff just across the river from the cotton farm where she picked cotton as a child.
"She wanted all of the brothers and sisters and the nieces and the nephews and the extended family to be able to come there," said her brother, Mitch Broadway.
They never got the chance. Five weeks after Jackie Levitz moved to Vicksburg and began renovating her home, she was gone. Martin Pace, an investigator on the case - now Sheriff - still won't reveal too many specifics about the case of the missing heiress.
"I do know the house appeared to be ransacked, and when investigators turned the mattress over in the bedroom, there was blood on it, and there were false fingernails lying, around indicating there had been a struggle," he said.
Nothing was missing from the home, including Levitz's valuable jewelry and fur coats. The FBI, Vicksburg Police, and the Warren County Sheriff's Department began their investigation after a family member called and said Jackie was missing.
Thirteen years later, they still meet once a month. "This is one of those cases that continues to haunt the agency and the investigators," Pace said.
According to Pace, there has recently been DNA testing on case evidence - testing that was not available in 1995.
"There are some evidentiary issues that we are in a much better position now to help solve this case," he said.
That's all he would say, but there could be more.
James Burnett, the owner a store in Vicksburg that used to sell wallpaper, said he and his wife and daughter last saw Levitz at 4:30 in the afternoon the day before she was reported missing.
They had all been looking at wallpaper samples, but Burnett remembers something else - something his employees saw a week before Levitz' disappearance.
She had come into the store with a man in a pickup, "and bought a barbecue grill and paid for it with cash," Burnett said.
Nobody seemed to know the man.
Mitch Broadway says his family desperately wants closure.
"Somebody out there knows what happened," he said. "Please come forward."
Click here to send an email to Janice Broach.