UPDATE: Dalton woman charged in 30-year-old cold case
UPDATE: It was 50-year-old Sandra Hartzag's public profile on Facebook that tipped off Delaware investigators to Georgia where Bruce Fraizer with the Dalton Police Department says she was living homeless, almost untraceable.
"If Facebook hadn't been around, she wouldn't be sitting in jail today probably."
"If Facebook hadn't been around, she wouldn't be sitting in jail today probably," Fraizer said, "Through different connections we have in the community, we were able to track her down. But in terms of a permanent address or a means of walking out the door to go find her. We didn't have that."
Investigators connected Hartzag to a 30-year-old cold case more than 600 miles away in Wilmington, Delaware where police found Joseph Braun, 54, beaten to death in 1985.
The case sat cold for 14 years until family members of Hartzag's then boyfriend came forward connecting her to the case. He passed away two years prior.
Despite the new lead, investigators still had no way of physically connecting Hartzag to the case until a couple of weeks ago when the case was reopened.
A previous arrest helped them link Hartzag to Braun's home and car. The only problem - investigators didn't know where she was living. Until a quick Facebook search pointed them to Dalton.
"Facebook ends up getting involved in a lot of different investigations and certainly when you're looking for someone in a cold case, it's not a bad place to start," Fraizer added.
That's when New Castle County investigators teamed up with Dalton police bringing Hartzag in for questioning, which ultimately led to her arrest.
"Different agencies have to work with each other all the time. Usually it doesn't span this kind of distance. It's rare for us to be assisting an agency from anywhere outside of the Southeast, but it does happen," Fraizer said.
Showing distance and length of time are no match when it comes to pursuing justice.
Hartzag is being held without bond at the Whitfield County Jail. She will be transported to Delaware where she will answer to multiple charges including murder.
PREVIOUS STORY: A homeless woman in Dalton now faces murder charges in connection to a 30-year-old cold case out of Delaware.
Sandra Hartzag has been charged with murder during the commission of a felony, robbery in the first degree, conspiracy in the second degree and possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony for the 1985 murder of Joseph Braun, 54.
On July 1, 1985, New Castle County Police were called to a home in the 2200 block of Hearn Road in Wilmington, Delaware. Officers learned a neighbor called 911 after she had not seen her neighbor Joseph Braun for a few days.
The responding officers entered the home and located the deceased victim on the second floor. During the course of the investigation, Detectives learned the victim’s 1981 Silver Honda Accord was missing from his home. The car was located a week later in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. Evidence was collected from both the victim’s home and his car which would help detectives in the future.
In 1999, new information was obtained from two men who provided Investigators with statements that they believed a relative had committed the crime. Detectives learned the suspect died in 1997, but the details provided by the witnesses were consistent with the original report taken in 1985. The two men also gave Detectives a new lead by stating that the suspect’s girlfriend Sandra Hartzag was present and involved in the murder.
Detectives made several attempts to locate Hartzag and were unable to link her to the crime in 1999. Cold Case Detective Thomas Orzechowski and Civilian Cold Case Investigator, Ret. Sergeant Glenn Davis reopened the case in October. Investigators learned Hartzag was arrested in Philadelphia in 2001 which helped them to positively link her to the Joseph Braun’s home and his vehicle, but they were unable to locate her.
As the investigation continued, Detectives gathered information that led them to Dalton, Georgia. They then contacted detectives from Dalton Police Department who helped in the search for Hartzag, who was taken into custody on November 4, 2015. Detective Orzechowski and Civilian Investigator Davis were able to obtain detailed information to further connect Hartzag to the murder.
Dalton Police Department charged Hartzag as a fugitive from justice. She is currently being held in the Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office awaiting extradition to Delaware.