Forever Lebanon Valley

E-town College Student Helps PSP Solve Cold Case 58 Years Later

Eric Schubert of ES Genealogy (photo from Facebook)
Eric Schubert speaking during State Police news conference 2/10/22 in Hazleton, PA

A history major at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County played a pivotal role in helping solve a 58-year old murder case in Luzerne county.

As The Lebanon Valley Daily News reported last week, the question of who sexually assaulted and killed 9-year old Marise Chiverella on March 18, 1964 has been answered.  It was James Paul Forte, a then-22-year old Hazleton man who lived within a few blocks of the Chiverella house.

The case was cracked, when State Police from Troop N in Hazleton worked with 20-year old genealogist Eric Schubert, using both the latest DNA technology as well as genetic genealogy to find a suspect.

Although troopers weren’t sure he could be of assistance, they vetted him extensively and discovered that he had helped several police departments across the country solve cold cases.

Two years and thousand of hours of research later, Schubert stood shoulder to shoulder with State Police at last week’s news conference, detailing what he contributed to the case:

From there, he conducted traditional family tree research using census, military and newspaper records, trying to zero in on potential linkages to Hazleton residents in 1964.

After a year of intense work, Schubert had developed almost 200 centimorgans that linked the DNA preserved from Marise’s body to the man who murdered her:

When asked how a 20-year old could be so experienced in genetic genealogy, Schubert said he was a sickly child and missed a lot of school.  While he was home watching TV he saw commercials about genealogy services, so he decided to give it a try.

As for the future, Schubert said he wants to continue volunteering his services to police departments.