Forensic Science Cracked Cold Case

Forensic Science Cracked Cold Case

Chae-ann Lawrence, Reporter

What would we do without Forensic Science? It’s important to realize that forensic evidence is important in cracking cases, as well as identifying criminals. Forensics helped to solve the cold case of Karen Klaas. The brutal murder of this young woman occurred on January 30th 1976. Karen Klaas was the ex-wife of the “Righteous Brothers” singer Bill Medley.

After Klaas dropped off her four year old son at school, Klaas was sexually assaulted in her home and strangled. She was in a coma for a while before she died on February 4th of the same year. Forensic evidence that was collected from the scene was a towel that was found next to her. The case went cold for 41 years, mainly because the suspect could not be found, and the proper DNA evidence wasn’t able to be used. Two witnesses had described that they saw a shaggy haired man in a trench coat, with blue jeans, leaving Karen Klass’ home.

In 2016 a suspect was apprehended as the suspect in Klass’ murder and assault. The suspects name was Kenneth Troyer. In order to link him to the crime, familial DNA was used. A sample from the crime scene, and from the DNA from Troyer, were collected and the investigators identified a “first degree relative” of Troyer. Investigators were able to search law enforcement databases in order to find people who may be related to the suspected criminal.

In 1982 Troyer was suspected in committing other sexual assaults in California. Kenneth Troyer was killed, however, by police when he escaped from prison in 1982. Cases like Karen Klass and many others have been solved primarily due to the use for forensic evidence. Family members, and friends of the victims, can now be at rest knowing that the cases which impacted them were solved. This case, and the 41 years it took to solve, is a prime example how important forensics are in crime investigations.