COLD CASE: "SUPERMODEL MURDER SOLVED AFTER 20 YEARS"
Twenty years after a rising French-Canadian fashion model was stabbed to death in her apartment, police have named her alleged killer: A top broadcaster known as the king of Montreal's high-flying early '80s disco scene.
Radio and television personality Alain Montpetit confessed to at least two women that he attacked Elite agency model Marie Josee St. Antoine (above) in the foyer of her apartment, New York Police Detective Stefano Braccini said in an interview this week.
Montpetit died of a cocaine overdose in a Washington hotel five years after St. Antoine was killed.
His sister, Francine Montpetit, declined to comment on the allegation when reached at her home near Montreal.
"That's an old story," she said. "I'm not interested in commenting."
St. Antoine's body was discovered in her fourth-floor apartment near Gramercy Park early on the morning of June 18, 1982. The striking 24-year-old model, featured on fashion magazine covers and active in New York and Montreal nightlife, had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest, neck and torso.
"This was pure rage," Detective Stefano Braccini said of the attack, which his "cold case" squad began to investigate last year. "This is a tragedy. She could have been the next Cheryl Tiegs."
Cold case squad detectives interviewed approximately 40 people as they reconstructed the events surrounding the attack. Two women told investigators that Montpetit had confessed his guilt to them, investigators said. And one of Montpetit's former girlfriends recanted previous statements that he had been with her at the time of the killing.
Born into a wealthy Montreal family, Montpetit became one of the city's top broadcasters of the '70s and '80s, moving between Montreal's and New York's social scenes.
"Montreal was a major center of disco at the time, along with New York, and he was the king here," said Nathalie Petrowski, arts columnist for La Presse, a French-language daily newspaper.
Among the witnesses interviewed was former "NYPD Blue" actress Kim Delaney, above, a neighbor of St. Antoine, who saw her walking with a man hours before she was killed, Braccini said.
Delaney helped a police sketch artist produce a drawing that resembled Montpetit, investigators said. Through her agent, Delaney said her thoughts were with St. Antoine's family.
Investigators believe that, later that night, after a party attended by Grace Jones and John F. Kennedy Jr. at the trendy discotheque Xenon, St. Antoine rejected Montpetit's request to help him renew a relationship with a friend of hers. The rejection enraged Montpetit, investigators believe.
St. Antoine's white pumps were found at the bottom of the staircase leading to her apartment. Police believe she was chased up the stairs and left behind her shoes, which her killer then set side-by-side as he fled the building.