Tonight’s “20/20” About 2009 Murder on Upper West Side

155 West 68th Street Shele Danishefsky Covlin

Dorchester Towers, 155 West 68th Street (Google Maps)

Tonight, long-running ABC News program 20/20 will be airing a special called “New Year’s Evil,” which will feature an in-depth examination of the infamous 2009 murder of Shele Danishefsky Covlin.


The program, presented by journalist Deborah Roberts, will delve into the death of the senior vice president for a private wealth management firm, who was discovered by her 9-year-old daughter lying face down in her bathtub in their apartment at Dorchester Towers (155 West 68th Street).

Was it an accident or was it murder?” poses the 20/20 Facebook page.

When the nine-year-old girl found her mother’s body, she called her father, Roderick Covlin, a frequently-unemployed backgammon player. Covlin had been engaged in a bitter divorce and custody battle with his wife, who financed his apartment across the hall to minimize disruption to their daughter’s family life. Court records reveal he had attempted to sabotage his wife’s reputation by spreading lies to her employer.

The police initially ruled her death an accidental fall and didn’t perform an autopsy. However, suspicion grew over her death because Mr. Covlin, the only other person with a key to Ms. Covlin’s apartment, displayed increasingly violent tendencies and it was alleged that Ms. Covlin was planning on cutting him out of her will by the time of her death. Her body was exhumed and a medical examiner determined she had been strangled with such force that the hyoid bone in her neck was fractured. Over nine years later, Mr. Covlin was finally found guilty of murder in March 2019.


The 20/20 program will run from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on ABC and will feature interviews with family members, Rod’s ex-girlfriend, a legal counsel for Shele, as well as the detectives who cracked the case. It will be streaming on Hulu on Saturday.


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