Posted on Sun, Apr 27, 2008, New Haven Register

Reward offered in 2006 slaying
Milford victim’s father optimistic case will be solved

By James Tinley, Register Staff

MILFORD — The state is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who beat a 26-year-old aspiring singer and actress to death in her home two years ago.

The reward is the first positive news in two years for her grieving father, who insists he knows who killed Alexandra “Zandra” Ducsay and has criticized police for not doing enough to crack the case.

John Ducsay, 58, of Florida, said he is tormented by his daughter’s death, to the point he recently showed up at her former home and asked the new owners to let him in. He said he tore up the carpet in his daughter’s room, looking for evidence.

John Ducsay said the reward, approved by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, gives him new hope. He said the killer is “going to be shaking in his boots,” when he sees that such a high reward has been announced.

“This is going to be a big thing. I’m sure someone is going to roll on him and come forward,” he said.

In recent months, Ducsay has been writing letters and calling authorities and politicians urging them to post a reward.

“Finally, they’re doing something,” Ducsay said Friday after learning a reward is being offered. “Wow, this is a great thing.”

The reward offer was spurred on by a letter to Rell from Kevin Lawlor, state’s attorney for the Ansonia-Milford Judicial District.

“The police have not been able to develop sufficient evidence to arrest anyone,” Lawlor wrote in an April 15 letter to Rell. “I am requesting that a reward be posted in this case. In the hope that a reward will produce leads sufficient to warrant arrest, hopefully at the statutory maximum of $50,000.”

Rell said through a spokesman that she hopes that this reward will be beneficial in developing new leads that will help bring anyone associated with this unsolved crime to justice.

Police Chief Keith Mello said he knew the courts had requested the reward to help police solve this case.

“Obviously I am very pleased and it’s certainly a positive step that will hopefully aid us and assist us in solving this horrific crime,” Mello said.

Alexandra “Zandra” Ducsay’s body was found by her mother at 4:44 p.m. on May 19, 2006 in their Boothbay Street home. The death was ruled a homicide by the state medical examiner’s office, which said she died of cranial and cerebral trauma caused by blunt force trauma to the head.

John Ducsay said the man he suspects killed his daughter knew her since she was a teenager, but never very well. Shortly before the slaying, the man was released from prison and was living in another state. After he was released from prison he began phoning Alexandra, to the point of harassment, he said.

“My daughter was an angel,” Ducsay said.

The search for justice

Prior to the reward, Ducsay often spent his spare time contacting anyone who might help move the case along. From his home in Orlando, Fla., Ducsay phoned the prosecutor handling the case, the police, the mayor, the chief state’s attorney’s office and even U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

He said the conversations often end with him getting “worked up,” followed by a dial tone. The family even went as far as enlisting the aid of a psychic on the Montel Williams television show.

“There ain’t no justice, man,” he said

Police Chief Mello said the case is “very active” and he will continue to pursue the case “until the person responsible is punished.”

“The family suffered a terrible loss and we understand their frustration,” Mello said.

But Ducsay is tired of people telling him they understand.

“I’m sick of hearing about empathy,” he said. “Do the job and solve the case. And call me back once and a while.”

What has been made public so far is that the last time Ducsay was seen alive was at Bally Total Fitness in Stratford at 11 a.m. the day she died. Her friends left while she continued to work out, police said. There were no signs of forced entry. Ducsay never sought a restraining order against anyone in Milford, according to clerks at Superior Court.

But Ducsay said his daughter was in the process of filing for a restraining order after receiving phone calls and a menacing note from the man he believes killed Alexandra. Ducsay said police interviewed the suspect shortly after the murder, but he was “cool as a cucumber” got a lawyer right away and refused to take a polygraph test.

Vern Krill, a former detective with the Shelton Police Department, who is now a professor of criminal justice at Housatonic Community College, said a reward can help.

Krill is optimistic that the case will be solved eventually. “They may know who the killer is, but they need evidence placing him in the house on that day,” he said. “They get one shot at him, and they want murder one, the prosecutors don’t want a lesser charge.”

Since there is no statute of limitation on murder cases, Krill said there is no rush to make an arrest.

Krill draws parallels in this case to that of Concetta “Penney” Serra. Almost three decades after Serra was slain in Temple Street Garage. A seemingly unrelated domestic dispute broke the case. Edward R. Grant was convicted of the slaying in 2002 after his print was matched to a bloody fingerprint found at the scene. His fingerprint was added to a data base after he was arrested for the unrelated domestic dispute years after the murder.

“Sometimes these cases stay open for years until there’s this magic moment when one piece of evidence surfaces and everything just falls into place,” Krill said.

One death, many lives lost

By his own admission John Ducsay is a broken man, torn apart from the grief of losing his daughter. He is tortured by the fact the killer is free, while he finds himself trapped in a prison of misery.

“My life is an abomination,” he said. “I’m the greatest actor in the world, just trying to get through everyday. That’s how bad it is; nobody lives their days like (my ex-wife) and I do.”

He said an arrest would be bittersweet.

“It’s not going to bring my daughter back but it may just make me able to live another day or two and feel good about it,” he said. “At this point, nothing matters to me; nothing hurts me. You could cut my arm off, it wouldn’t hurt me.”

Ducsay’s ex-wife could not be reached for comment for this article.

Alexandra Ducsay graduated from Jonathan Law High School and received a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven in 2001. Alexandra was a systems analyst for a People’s Bank branch and also ran a toy drive, called “Zandra’s Christmas Drive,” for needy children in Bridgeport, her father said. After her death, her two brothers kept it going for one more year.

She was also an aspiring singer and actress, landing a small role on “Law & Order” and spots dancing with popular recording artists. She had dreams of making it big in New York City, which she called her “city of dreams” on her personal Web page.

For now, all John Ducsay can do is wait for a new piece of evidence or a witness to surface. With the new reward, he said the “magic moment” may now be within reach.

James Tinley can be reached at or 401-3530.