Killer of singer's ex-wife identified 41 years on

Killer of singer's ex-wife identified 41 years on

More than four decades after the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley was raped and killed, officials have identified her suspected killer.

Karen Klaas was attacked on 30 January 1976 as she returned to her home in the Hermosa Beach area.

The 32-year-old was sexually assaulted and strangled with her tights, dying a few days later in hospital.

Although DNA testing was not used at that time, police still gathered and recorded items they hoped might be helpful in future, an action that turned out to be the key to solving the murder decades later.

Investigators used familial DNA, a controversial testing technique using a sample from the crime scene to identify a “first-degree relative” of their suspect.

Familial DNA means officials can search databases to identify like relatives of the person who may have committed the crime.

Based on this, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said the suspect was believed to be Kenneth Eugene Troyer, who was killed by police in 1982.

Police did not release the identity of the relative whose DNA led them to Troyer but did say the sample they used was in a state database of criminals.

Last year, investigators were able to get a sample of Troyer’s DNA from the Orange County coroner’s office and conclusively link him to Ms Klaas’s death.

Mr McDonnell said: “Because of the familial DNA search, detectives were able to link Troyer’s DNA and positively confirm his identity as the killer.

“Familial DNA search is the only reason Troyer was identified in this horrific crime.”

Troyer was suspected of committing other sexual assaults in California and was shot and killed by police after escaping from prison in 1982.

Because he died before the law requiring the DNA collection of certain criminal offenders was enacted, his DNA was never entered into the system.

But the DNA from a relative jailed many years later led detectives to their man.

Medley said that the news had brought closure to the family.

He added: “It’s been something we’ve been hoping for and speculating about for 40 years and all of a sudden they say: ‘We got him and here’s who did it’.

“It’s just nice to be able to close the book on this.”

Klaas and Medley, who with Bobby Hatfield made up the singing duo best known for such hits as You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feelin’ and Unchained Melody, were married from 1964 to 1970.

Source: Sky News – Entertainment

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