Diane Holik was excited to enter a new phase in her life after getting engaged. She was going to move from Austin, Texas, a place she called home for many years. But just as things were looking up for her, tragedy wasn’t far behind. Investigation Discovery’s ‘Six Degrees of Murder: Ties That Bind’ chronicles the work that went into catching Diane’s killer. Through irrefutable scientific evidence, the police were able to bring the culprit to justice. So, if you’re wondering what happened in Diane’s case, we’ve got you covered.
How Did Diane Holik Die?
Diane was a New York native who moved around the country a lot, thanks to her work. The 43-year-old worked for IBM as an executive, ultimately settling in Austin in 1996. Eventually, she bought a home there and made a life for herself with a great circle of friends. Later, she met her future fiance through a dating service. They were engaged within two months of knowing each other. So, Diane was looking to sell her home and move to Houston, Texas, where he lived. On the morning of November 16, 2001, Diane missed a scheduled work call. When her colleagues weren’t able to reach her, they asked the police for a welfare check.
The officers arrived at Diane’s home at around 5:30 PM the same day. Diane’s neighbor, who was also her realtor, let them in. There were no signs of forced entry, and the lower floor seemed normal. However, Diane was found dead on the first floor in one of the bedrooms upstairs. She was face down and had ligature marks around her neck. There was no evidence of a sexual assault. Diane’s wrists also showed marks consistent with being bound with zip ties. The cause of death was ligature strangulation. Furthermore, Diane’s engagement ring and some other expensive jewelry were missing from the house.
Who Killed Diane Holik?
The medical examiner estimated that Diane died between 3 PM on November 15 and 3 AM on November 16. Now, the police had to figure out who visited Diane in that period. Her fiance, who was in Houston, was quickly ruled out. While the authorities were canvassing in the neighborhood, they came across some peculiar information from many homeowners who had their property on sale.
Many of them reported that on November 15, a man came by wanting to purchase their property. He had given different names to them and said that he would pay in cash. All he wanted to do at that point was to preview the house so that he could come with his wife later to see it again. All of the residents who this man approached claimed that he seemed strange. The authorities created a composite sketch and made it public.
With that, tips started pouring in. One woman called to say that a man who looked similar to the sketch had come by her house earlier with the same excuse as the others mentioned. She noted down the license plate number of his vehicle. This led the police to Patrick Anthony Russo. Patrick had a long criminal history. As per the show, he was arrested multiple times for assaulting women. He even spent time in jail for choking a woman. At the time, he was out on parole for aggravated kidnapping. He seemed to fit the bill of their suspect.
About a week after the murder, Patrick was brought in for questioning. He said that he was a music minister at a church in Bastrop County, Texas. He claimed that he was elsewhere at the time of the murder, but cellphone records placed him in the general area around Diane’s neighborhood. Furthermore, a hair sample taken from a towel found at the scene and swabs from Diane’s hand matched Patrick’s DNA. A search of his computer revealed his proclivity towards asphyxiation-type pornography.
Where is Patrick Anthony Russo Now?
In February 2004, Patrick stood trial for Diane’s murder. The overwhelming evidence against him meant only one thing: a conviction. He was found guilty of capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison. The prosecution said of Patrick, “He’s a predator, skilled at deceit and cunning and finding watering holes of potential victims.” As per prison records, he remains incarcerated at the Thomas Goree Unit in Huntsville, Texas. Richard will be eligible for parole in 2044.
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