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Severed Head Found In 1989 In New Jersey Identified, Linked To Serial Killer

(Credit: Thinkstock)

(Credit: Thinkstock)

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HOPEWELL, N.J. (AP) – A woman whose severed head was found on a New Jersey golf course more than 20 years ago has been identified, and police say the trail leads to a notorious serial killer.

Authorities say 25-year-old Heidi Balch likely was the first victim of Joel Rifkin, who is in prison in New York after admitting he killed 17 women in the early 1990s. They cite physical evidence and Rifkin’s statements in linking Balch’s killing to him.

State Police Sgt. Stephen Urbanski says Balch worked as a prostitute in New York City and used numerous aliases.

The severed head was found in 1989 in Hopewell, a town north of Trenton.

State and local detectives found Balch’s aunt in New York, who identified her picture this month. DNA tests confirmed her identity.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)