Roundup: Wertkin Murder, Scholar-Athletes, Affordable Housing, …

A murder that has haunted Westport for over 30 years may finally be solved.

At 11 p.m. on May 24, 1989, officers and firefighters responding to a fire behind the Coffee An’ strip mall found a burned woman’s body.

Shortly after, her husband reported 38-year-old Joan Wertkin missing.

Joan Wertkin

Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 6, 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.), News 12 airs a new episode of “Crime Files.” The still-open case has recently generated new tips and leads.

News 12 spoke with family members, and the Westport Police Department. “Crime Files”‘ investigative team has discovered never-released details.

Mark Holofcener — Wertkin’s only sibling — is grateful for tomorrow’s show.

“I want anything that will bring justice,” he tells “06880.”

“I don’t know what it takes to put someone in jail, but I’m pleased attention is still being paid to it. There are a lot of parts to this puzzle. My hope is that all the pieces will come together, and we can see the complete picture.”

He too has spoken with News 12.

In addition to airing tomorrow on Optimum Channel 12 at 7 and 9 p.m., the “Crime Files” show will be streamed on Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV and Pluto TV.


Three dozen Staples High School scholar-athletes were honored last night, at a unique dinner.

The coach of each varsity sport (there are 36) nominates one candidate, for his or her combined academic and athletic achievements. Each is given one question to answer on the spot, involving their interests, activities and passions.

Questions last night ranged from astrophysics (“what’s the biggest problem in the universe you’d like to solve?”) to interning in the selectwoman’s office (“what did you learn about government that surprised you?” to rugby (“it’s been called a game for hooligans, played by gentlemen — which are you?”).

But the highlight of the night came from boys ski team member Jet Tober. A freestyle rapper who took Advanced Placement Mandarin, he was asked to rap — in Mandarin. He brought down the house.

Congratulations to all the scholar-athletes: Fall sports: Emma Porzio (fall cheerleading), Matthew Fleming (boys cross country), Eva  Simonte (girls cross country), Francine Stevens (field hockey), James Hillhouse (football), Finn Wolter (boys golf), Alex Laskin (boys soccer), Samantha Dewitt (girls soccer), Kate Whitaker (girls swimming), Kate Valante (girls volleyball), Benjamin Madoff (boys water polo).

Winter sports: Gavin Rothenberg (boys basketball), girls basketball (Scarlett Siegel), Jenny Bradshaw (cheerleading), Ava DeDomenico (gymnastics), Connor Moynihan (boys ice hockey), Chloe Hackett (girls ice hockey), Jonas Varnas (boys indoor track), Gabriella Gerig (girls indoor track), Jet Tober (boys skiing), Emma Nahon (girls skiing), Ryan Salik (boys squash), Rebecca Schussheim (girls squash), Joshua Tanksley (boys swimming), Jackson Oliver (wrestling).

Spring sports; Ethan Cukier (baseball), Keeva Boyle (girls golf), Michael Nealon (boys lacrosse), Cameron Retcho (girls lacrosse), Sam Pirkl (boys rugby), Parker Pretty (girls rugby), Grace Alfaro (softball), Alex Guadarrama (boys tennis), Lucia Wang (girls tennis), William Fitch (boys outdoor track), Isabelle Bland (girls outdoor track), Witt Lindau (sailing), Kareem Abouzeid (boys volleyball), Clara Smith (girls water polo).

After the dinner, scholar-athletes posed with their parents and coaches. Boys basketball honoree Gavin Rothenberg is shown with his coach Dave Goldshore (far left) and parents.


Speaking of Staples, here’s one more shot of Saturday night’s pre-prom festivities.

This is a different take. John Videler’s drone shows both the prom-goers and their proud parents.

(Drone photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)


“Fair share” — a proposal by which the state would assess the need for affordable housing, then mandate that certain towns above a certain poverty level provide such housing — was removed from a bill early Saturday morning.

The legislation that was then passed, by a narrow margin, by the House of Representatives includes a study of affordable housing needs in Connecticut. But it will be used for “informational purposes” and is “aspirational goal-setting,” according to one legislator.

The bill now goes to the state Senate. Click here for a full report, from CT Mirror.


Davide opens — or, to use its word, “arrives” — on Church Lane June 10.

(Photo/Sal Liccione)

Its website says, somewhat ungrammatically:

“Davide, founded by Joseph Davide in 2020, pays homage to Italy, his origin and culture for inspiration while weaving it with the thread of the laid back attitude of modern luxury.

“Each collection being presented as ready to wear collections. Davide’s aesthetic tells the story of the classic man evolving from adolescence to adulthood.

“With no background education in fashion design, Joseph steers Davide with the vision of modernity and sophistication evoking a style of quality downtime through its relaxed silhouettes in his crafts.”

This may be Davide’s first retail outlet. No others are listed on the website.


Among the non-art attractions at Westport’s recent Fine Arts Festival: a fun fundraising contest by Staples Tuition Grants.

Entrants guessed the number of jellybeans in a jar. The actual number was 51,196. Eoghan Scully guessed 51,215 — only 19 off.

The very close 2nd and 3rd place guesses came from Crystal Benaroya and Annie Bowens. All receive gift certificates to their favorite Westport restaurants.

The contest helped STG award a record $405,000 in grants this year, to 119 students.

51,196 jellybeans!


Elisabeth Levey captured (by camera) these critters, coming out to play.

Or perhaps they were just posing for our daily “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Elisabeth Levey)


And finally … on this day in 1783, the Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their “montgolfière.” Today it is known as a hot air balloon.

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4 responses to “Roundup: Wertkin Murder, Scholar-Athletes, Affordable Housing, …

  1. Peter Blau

    Anyone who thinks a 30 year old murder is going to be “solved” by a wannabe true crime show on Cablevision News 12 is dreaming. Sorry.

  2. Everyone knew who done it 🔥

  3. Eric William Buchroeder SHS ‘70

    Every minute you spend watching that crap is a minute you’re not thinking of how to save the Playhouse. I beseech thee: Stop filling your minds with crap!!!

  4. Jack Whittle

    Well . . . as Dan knows, I have long been bothered by this murder of Joan Wertkin – a Westport resident, a wife, a mother of two Coleytown students, and a daughter to parents who cared enough to pursue the Westport PD for action for years afterwards.

    I’m glad to see renewed attention to this case, whether it’s a local TV show or otherwise. Hopefully someone will come forward with more information that can help solve what appears to be Westport’s only unsolved murder.