Forty years ago, the body of a teenage girl was removed from a school playground in Bayside, Queens. Leslie Zaret, a popular student in a Flushing school, had been stripped naked and strangled. Police pushed the investigation, but after some promising leads, the case went cold. Now the NYPD is trying to jump-start the investigation. Retired detective Mark Valencia talks on Aug. 15, 2014, about his involvement in the case. (Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware)
Forty years ago, residents of Bayside, Queens, watched in horror as police removed the body of a teenage girl from a school playground.
On a summer morning, a custodian at PS 203 on Springfield Boulevard discovered 17-year-old Leslie Zaret's body. Zaret, a popular student at John Bowne High School in Flushing, had been stripped naked and strangled. Her clothes -- blue blouse and pants, and platform shoes -- were piled nearby.
As community pressure mounted to find the killer, police pushed the investigation. But after some promising leads and information about a number of persons of interest -- including a man who lived on Long Island -- the case went cold.
Now the NYPD is trying to jump-start the investigation, led by three-star chief Joanne Jaffe, for whom the case resonates. She was growing up in Bayside when the killing occurred.
Jaffe, 16 at the time, recalls being frightened by the discovery of the body. "I remember the community being so overwhelmed," she said.