The violent murders of Champaben and Anita Patel, a mother and daughter from Windsor, have been a mystery since they happened on March 21,1996.
But cold case detectives from the Connecticut State Police, with the help of the Windsor Police Department, are taking another look at the evidence now, Brian Foley, the executive aide to James Rovella, who heads the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said.
“Investigators from the State of Connecticut Cold Case unit had begun to give this case some additional attention pre-pandemic,” Foley said. “Now that things have settled [down], the case and its evidence are again being reevaluated…The reevaluation particularly relates to the exploration of possible resubmission of evidence as DNA science has evolved a great deal.”
The Patels’ homicide is one of the cold cases listed on the Connecticut State Police’s Cold Case website. Anita Patel, 32, was stabbed 14 times in her kitchen, and her body was burned due to gasoline being poured around her while Champaben Patel, 54, was strangled and her body was burned in her bedroom, according to the website.
Anita Patel came into the house with her two children, aged 3 and 5 at the time, while her mother, Champaben, was being attacked.
The children safely fled the house, but then Anita Patel was stabbed repeatedly with a pair of kitchen scissors in the back. The autopsy found that she died of smoke inhalation. It appeared she was trying to escape the attack because her bloody handprint was found on or near a sliding glass door, according to the Hartford Courant.
Other relatives sued Anita’s brother, Jatin Patel, accusing him of killing his mother and sister. They alleged that he killed them because his mother was going to cut off his inheritance and remove him as a beneficiary of her insurance policy, the Courant reported.
The lawsuit was settled in 1999, the Courant reported, ensuring that Jatin Patel would not receive any of the $231,331 insurance policy payout.
Jatin Patel later sued the Windsor police in federal court but lost the case. Though he has been a suspect in the case, Jatin Patel maintains his innocence, the Courant reported.
No one has ever been charged in the deaths of his mother and sister.
Sainabou Jobe is a student at Achievement First Amistad High School in New Haven.