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Police: 1993 Norwalk Cold Case Murder Involved Drugs, Girlfriends

Juan Cornelio of Norwalk was found shot to death in Norwalk in October 1993. His murder remains unsolved.
Juan Cornelio of Norwalk was found shot to death in Norwalk in October 1993. His murder remains unsolved. Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department/Facebook

NORWALK, Conn. -- When Juan "Johnny" Cornelio of Norwalk didn't show up for his daughter's birthday party and didn't respond to telephone calls on Oct. 10, 1993, his girlfriend knew something was not right.

In New York City, the girlfriend, along with another friend, drove to Cornelio's Norwalk home at 15 Godfrey St. to make sure he was OK. When they entered the unlocked front door, they found Cornelio dead, sitting at a small table in a bedroom, with a gunshot wound to the head, said Norwalk Police Department Lt. Art Weisgerber.

After Cornelio's death was ruled a homicide, the department's Detective Bureau assumed the investigation and learned from friends that Cornelio was originally from New York City and had moved to Norwalk five month earlier to sell cocaine.

Detectives discovered Cornelio, 23, may have had another girlfriend who was married and lived nearby. The girlfriend was described as a black woman, 30 to 40 years old with the first name “Edith” or “Iris,” and that she had seven children, and her husband was large and heavy-set and drove a light red car.

On the day he was shot, Cornelio was at home about 9:30 p.m., with one of his drug runners when the woman came over and wanted $500 he had promised her. According to the drug runner, Cornelio and the woman argued out front and then went into the house, and Cornelio told the runner to leave.

The runner was aware that a Jamaican male was coming over to purchase 90 grams of cocaine but had not arrived before 9:30 p.m., when he was told to leave.

During subsequent interviews, Cornelio's friends who originally found him admitted that when they found him dead, they also found about 2 ounces of cocaine, a scale and $1,000 in cash, and had cleaned it up before calling the police to report his death.

This would appear to eliminate robbery/homicide as the motive, Weisgerber said.

The investigation stalled with few leads, and the black woman named “Edith” or “Iris” was never identified for an interview.

The case remains unsolved at this time. Anybody with information is asked to contact Weisgerber at 203-854-3028 or aweisgerber@norwalkct.org . Anonymous Internet tips can be sent through the Norwalk police website at www.norwalkpd.com . Anonymous text tips can be submitted by typing “NPD” into the text field, followed by the message and sending it to CRIMES (274637).

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