Local News

Durham Symphony Performs Tribute To Missing Cellist

Posted March 5, 2003 8:34 a.m. EST

— The Durham Symphony performed a special tribute Tuesday evening for Janine Sutphen, the symphony cellist who has not been seen in over a month.

Sutphen has been missing since Jan. 21, when she failed to show up for a symphony rehearsal. Police are investigating the case as a homicide.

Sutphen's friends said they wanted to remember her for all the things she has done for the orchestra.

"Janine is still missing. And we want to play this piece in her memory and her tribute," symphony director Alan Neilson said.

Symphony members said they pray for the best, but are expecting the worst. They just want answers.

"The lack of closure is definitely the most unsettling thing. If we knew what happened or if we knew where she was it would be a lot easier to deal with," said Christa Wessel, Durham Symphony stage manager.

Sutphen's husband, Robert Petrick, reported her missing early the next morning. Police found her car on the first level of a downtown Durham parking garage across the street from the Durham Arts Council building, where rehearsal was held. Her cello and keys were in the car.

After Sutphen's disappearance, Petrick was indicted on six felony fraud indictments and is being held in the Durham County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Investigators have not named him a suspect, but said the fraud charges are related to Sutphen's disappearance.

The case is being investigated as a homicide. Durham police said they are re-evaluating their evidence, trying to piece the puzzle together.

"You feel you've done everything you could possibly do. You've done everything correctly and still you can't bring an investigation of this nature to an end," said Lt. Norman Blake of the Durham Police Department.