‘Head Had AIDS’ Head is Identified After 24 Years

head had aids Trentonian

A cold case that prompted one of the most memorable tabloid headlines in history has been closed after 24 years.

In 1989, investigators revealed that a severed female head discovered by two golfers on the seventh fairway of the Hopewell Valley Golf Club in central New Jersey had tested positive for HIV — thus prompting the daily Trentonian’s historic front page:


Today, The Trentonian’s staid broadsheet rival, The Times of Trenton, reported that, at long last, DNA evidence has ID’d the woman as one Heidi Balch of New York City:

Balch’s death may be connected to New York serial killer Joel Rifkin, who claimed a few years after the body was discovered that he murdered the woman. Rifkin, who is serving 200 years in prison for nine murders, claimed he killed 17 prostitutes. He said the young woman who has now been identified as Balch called herself “Susie.”

(Here’s how The Trentonian played today’s news.)

For more on the storied war between the historically scrappy Trentonian and stuffy Times — and the whole Head Had AIDS thing — read this or this.

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