LOS ANGELES (AP) — Investigators used a controversial DNA testing method to solve the decades-old killing of the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Friday. Karen Klaas was attacked Jan. 30, 1976 as she returned to her home in Hermosa Beach. The 32-year-old was sexually assaulted, strangled with her pantyhose and never regained consciousness. She died a few days later at the hospital. The sheriff's department said Friday that the case "was solved through the use of familial DNA, which identified the killer," but provided no other details. The technique, which has raised ethical issues in the forensics community, allows investigators to search law enforcement databases to identify likely relatives of the person who may have committed the crime. Law enforcement officials have argued the technique can provide valuable leads to investigators. A sheriff's spokeswoman would not say Friday evening whether investigators had formally made an arrest in the case and declined to identify the suspect. Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, District Attorney Jackie Lacey and other officials are expected to release additional information at a news conference Monday. Sheriff's investigators, seeking help from the public in 2009, said two witnesses spotted a shaggy-haired, bearded man in a trench coat and blue jeans leaving the house, but the man was never seen again. Officials said they were able to cull together a DNA profile of Klaas' killer but in 2009 said it hadn't matched anyone in the national DNA database.
This is how LE is going to get EAR. Sooner or later, they will come across something!!! It is happening on a daily basis lately!
For 34 frustrating years, police in Vacaville, California, refused to give up on De Anna Lynn Johnson. The 14-year-old ninth grader was found slain in 1982. Her body was dumped in a remote section of Vacaville along the train tracks. According to police, De Anna was last seen leaving a house party the day before her remains were recovered. She didn’t return home from the party and was reported missing by her mother. On Tuesday, investigators charged 51-year-old Marvin Ray Markle, a longtime suspect who was 17 at the time of De Anna’s death, with her killing. Investigators allege that Markle crushed the girl’s skull with a rock. Markle is currently incarcerated — serving 80 years for the 2001 murder of Shirley Ann Pratt, a 41-year-old woman. Early on in their investigation, Vacaville detectives suspected Markle was involved in De Anna’s killing, but they couldn’t allegedly link him until he was arrested in 2013 for Pratt’s murder. • Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter. A Vacaville Police Department statement alleges that several witnesses who testified in Markle’s 2014 trial played instrumental roles in allegedly connecting the convicted killer to De Anna’s slaying. Police have not disclosed much of the alleged evidence against Markle, but a prosecution source says “similar witnesses in the Shirley Pratt case” will testify against him. Markle, who has long denied killing De Anna, is an inmate at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California. De Anna’s relatives released a statement saying, “It has been a long, hard, and emotional struggle to face each day of the 34 years while De Anna’s murderer has walked free and lived life. We miss her very much, relying on the happy memories, and live on knowing that De Anna believed in God because of Rainbows.” • Pick up PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: Cases That Shocked America, on sale now, for the latest on Casey Anthony, JonBenét Ramsey and more. The statement adds, “We believe in God because of De Anna. Her family, friends, and the entire community worked tirelessly and never gave up on seeking justice for her; we thank them all for that.” Markle’s attorney could not be reached for comment Friday. He has not yet entered a plea.
Accused killer on FBI's Most Wanted Fugitive list surrenders at Texas border
A man suspected of raping and killing a working young mother on the University of Texas campus in 1983 is in custody after years on the run. Robert Van Wisse, 51, surrendered to authorities at the Texas border Thursday. He was apprehended six weeks after his name was added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive list. He was wanted by Austin police in connection with the murder of 22-year-old Laurie Stout in September, 1983, Fox 7 Austin reports. She was a University of Texas janitor and her body was found in a campus building restroom. She had a 19-month-old daughter.
The FBI says Van Wisse was the last person seen in the building before the murder but was initially ruled out as a suspect. He was a University of Texas student at the time. He fled to Mexico in 1996 when DNA linked him to the crime, according to the FBI. His family had property in Mexico and he had been born there in Guadalajara. “He was a college student whose parents were both professionals,” FBI Agent Justin Noble said of Van Wisse, according a Dallas Morning News report Friday. “He grew up going to the best schools and living in the nicest neighborhood. He had the future in front of him and yet it appears he murdered a young woman making minimum wage trying to support her family and young child.” After surrendering, Van Wisse was jailed on two charges-- first degree murder and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The victim’s daughter was still processing the news that Van Wisse was behind bars, Time Warner Cable News reported Friday. “It’s just very shocking,” Daile Stout said. “It’s not something I thought I was ever going to experience.”
KUSA - All this week at 6 a.m., 9NEWS is looking at Colorado Cold Cases and where these unsolved murders stand today. DENVER- The Bennett family murders is a case that goes back more than three decades. It begins with a woman killed with a hammer in Lakewood and, a week later, a family killed the same way in Aurora. The killer was never brought to justice. But new technology is getting detectives closer and closer to solving the brutal mystery. The Bennett family had just moved into their Aurora home around Thanksgiving. It was a quiet cul-de-sac and most of the homes were still empty. Their daughter Melissa about to celebrate her eighth birthday, but never would. On the night of Jan. 16, 1984 a man entered the Bennett’s home.
The man fatally stabbed and bludgeoned 27-year-old Bruce Bennett and sexually assaulted and bludgeoned his wife Debra, 26. He then sexually assaulted and fatally beat 7-year-old Melissa Bennett and shattered the face of 3-year-old Vanessa Bennett. She survived. “That’s a shock to your life because I am the one who found the kids,” says Constance Bennett, Bruce’s mother. Constance remembers the house was too quiet, then finding her family brutally murdered inside.
Police are trying to find a killer who used a hammer to murder a family of four in their Aurora home. (Photo: KUSA file photo)
“It’s the worst moment of my life. So it’s just something I certainly can’t forget,” she said. To make the case even more complicated, a week prior to the Bennett family murders, DNA evidence would later find, the same man murdered Patricia Smith, 50, in her Lakewood home with a hammer. The murder weapon never found, but the killer left DNA behind at both crime scenes. “I think this type of case is going to be a forensic breakthrough that’s going to solve it,” said Det. Stephen Conner with Aurora PD’s Cold Case Department. Conner has been investigating the case for nearly a decade, and a few years ago, they had a break in the case. “We have an idea that the suspect’s possibly a white male,” Conner said.
DNA evidence has let Aurora Police create a composite photo of what the suspect looked like at the time of the murder, and now. (Photo: KUSA file photo)
Now they know for sure, thanks to newly developed technology that uses DNA like a blueprint to make predictions about a person’s appearance. “…this confirmed that as well as hair and eye color,” he said. They came up with a composite of the killer. One, of what he may have looked like then and another, what he may look like now. “We know we’re looking at someone of western northern decent as opposed to Hispanic male or black male. It’s narrowed to that,” Conner said. Detectives were hoping someone would know who this person is or remember seeing someone that night but since the composite has been released, every tip has come up empty. “We’ve probably had, I don’t know, 40 or 50 calls on that,” Conner said. “We’ve eliminated suspects through obtaining their DNA.” He says this case is like chasing a ghost. “As least that’s what I refer to it as. My personal opinion is based upon the evidence and a whole bunch of things that come into play that the guy is probably deceased,” Conner said.
The Bennett family was killed the night of Jan. 16, 1984. In this photo, you can see 27-year-old Bruce Bennett, 26-year-old Debra Bennett, 7-year-old Melissa Bennett and 3-year-old Vanessa Bennett. (Photo: KUSA file photo)
And says he believes the murders were not a crime of passion but rather opportunity. “I think it was ‘I came here to do something whether it was to rob the place or kill the family, I will not come out empty-handed,’” Conner said. Even though leads grew cold and storylines faded detectives continue to work in hopes of bringing justice to the entire Bennett family. “I hope they find who murdered my kids for no reason and that they’re punished in some way,” Constance Bennet said. “It just changes how you feel about everything that a person can do that and go day by day.”
Detectives look for evidence after the murder of the Bennett family. (Photo: KUSA file photo)
There was no forcible entry into the home. Debra Bennett’s purse was found in front of the house, the contents spilled in the snow. Detectives recovered the knife that was used in the murders in the front yard, but the hammer was never found. Connor says there’s other DNA technology out there they’re looking into that could narrow the field even more.
Maybe someday, this is how we will catch EAR/ONS as well?
Arrest made in cold case rape, murder of 16-year-old Utah girl 39 years ago
The cold case rape and murder of a 16-year-girl in Utah more than 39 years ago has been solved through DNA linking a Florida man to the brutal crime, police said. Sharon Schollmeyers was found dead in a bathtub on Dec. 5, 1977 by her mother who was let into the apartment in Salt Lake City by the man who is now charged with the killing. “What kind of guts he had,” Sally Kadleck told the Deseret News Thursday in a story reporting the arrest of 59-year-old Patrick McCabe for her daughter’s murder. “I mean, really he knew what he had done and yet he went ahead and let me in.” McCabe was a building manager and Sharon was one of his tenants. Police said her body was found the day after McCabe killed her. The Gephardt Daily reported that McCabe told cops he used his key to get into Sharon's apartment as she slept. He then said he raped the girl at knifepoint, took her to the bathtub, strangled her and held her head underwater. McCabe was being held in jail in Florida awaiting extradition to Utah, the paper reported. He was arrested in Bell, Florida, where he was living. He was charged Friday with first degree murder and could face the death penalty if convicted. Fox 13 Utah reported that McCabe’s DNA was found on a halter top used to gag Sharon. Florida officials entered his DNA into an FBI database after his conviction for sexual offense against a minor in 1999, the station reported. The DNA yielded a match on Dec. 6, 2016, the station reported. Kadleck went to check on her daughter when she failed to show up for work. Salt Lake City police told Fox 13 that as she searched the apartment McCabe stayed in the living room. Kadleck told the Deseret News she is grateful McCabe has been arrested. “I thought, ‘How am I ever going to live my life not knowing how or why, or who or anything?’” she said. “I'm glad it's happening.”
nowhereman: If you didn't see Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey on Netflix...yikes. I was aware of most of that stuff but when it's all explained chronologically in great detail holy cow. Those FLDS people are out there.
Jun 12, 2022 2:22:32 GMT
mcfetty: YEahhhhh, just watched it and that was insane!
Jul 4, 2022 16:08:22 GMT
vivazapata: Peoples Investigates 2 hour show on "The Hammer Killer" in case anyone interested
Jul 12, 2022 4:12:24 GMT
billthom56: Just noticed this shoutout from SammyT. Thank you so much. Bill Thomas
Jul 18, 2022 18:42:27 GMT
sammyt: You're well deserving a shout out Bill. You put yourself out there, year after year. A truly inspirational person within the true crime world.
Jul 24, 2022 21:46:30 GMT
sammyt: After the new 12-26-75 book, perhaps it's time for a similar investigation into the CPK crimes. Seems like there were a lot of dirty police chiefs around back in the day...
Jul 24, 2022 21:54:28 GMT
sammyt: And big shout out to daedra.. another really good researcher on here!
Jul 24, 2022 21:59:34 GMT
kg: Thanks SammyT. I have to give credit to SammyT for the fact that I am still plugging away on Coe. If it were not for his candid feedback and encouragement I am sure I may have landed in the looney bin a long time ago but most likely I would have quit.
Aug 3, 2022 1:42:45 GMT