Dateline NBC, a weekly television newsmagazine, will be taping the trial of Tom Zich for a future episode of the program, which usually airs on Friday nights. Zich is accused of killing his wife, Mary Jane, of Genoa, in 1991.
“We have been given permission to shoot the trial, so we will be covering it,” Liz Brown, a producer for Dateline, told The Press last week.
Dateline programming usually includes topics of investigative journalism, true crime, and human interest stories.
The Zich murder case piqued the interest of the program’s producers because it grew cold for 17 years until the arrest of the murder victim’s husband.
“What’s interesting about it is that it’s a cold case with all the human drama associated with a young mother disappearing, her body being found, then years later, law enforcement arresting her husband,” said Brown. “Obviously, we have no idea what the resolution is going to be.”
Zich’s trial had originally been scheduled for last week, but was delayed until June.
Mary Jane Zich, 27, of Genoa, was last seen by friends on November 28, 1991. Nine days later, her husband reported her missing to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. Her body was found in the trunk of her car in the 400 block of Greenwood Avenue in East Toledo on December 18 of that year. Toledo Police said the car had been parked there for about three weeks. The Lucas County coroner said Zich, who was just days away from turning 28-years-old, had been strangled to death.
Toledo Police had initially taken the lead investigating her murder until Clay Township police uncovered evidence that the murder may have occurred in Ottawa County.
A task force at one time was formed that included investigators from Clay Township, the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, the Toledo Police Department, the Lucas County Coroner’s office, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Oregon Police Department, and the Ottawa County prosecutor’s office.
Tom had declined to comment for an article that appeared in The Press on January 20, 1992, but he did confirm he and his wife were having marital problems at the time of her murder. The couple had been married a little over a year.
Zich’s family became aware of her disappearance after her husband showed up at a going away party for a nephew, carrying their daughter, Desiree, on Dec. 6, according to the article. It was then that Mary Jane’s parents and her brother-in-law, Robert, talked to Tom about reporting Mary Jane as a missing person. The next day, Tom officially reported her missing to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.
Zich was arrested in June, 2007, after he was indicted by a Lucas County grand jury on one count of murder in the death of Mary Jane. He entered a not guilty plea in the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas.
Brown said Dateline will cover the trial from beginning to end. She does not know when the program will air.