The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Monday it had solved a 41-year-old murder mystery through the use of a familial DNA match - a process by which partial DNA profiles are compared in order to attempt to identify relatives of a potential killer.
Detectives said the familial connection was verified with a full DNA comparison, and they are certain an ex-con killed by police in 1982 was responsible for the rape and murder of Karen Klaas, who's body was found January 30, 1976 inside her home in Hermosa Beach.
"I think I came to terms that this was never, ever going to be solved," said singer Bill Medley, who had divorced from Klaas before the murder.
He said he went numb when detectives called to say they'd finally solved the case.
Biological evidence from the murder scene produced a male DNA profile when the case was reopened, but the profile did not lead to an identification when it was compared with profiles in the state and national DNA databases.
That meant the killer's profile had never been entered into those databases.
A familial search was unsuccessful in 2011 - but it led to a possible match in 2016 because the DNA profile of a close relative of the killer had been added to one of the databases, authorities said.
That relative was a, "first degree," close relative, said L.A. County Sheriff's Lt. Victor Lewandowski, who declined to identify the relation.
That link led to the identification of Kenneth Eugene Troyer, who would have been 29 years old at the time of the murder.
Troyer was shot to death by police after he escaped from prison in San Luis Obispo County in 1982.
"When it happened it was just a mind blower, so I'm happy for the family that we get the closed book," Medley said at a news conference with investigators.
-- Eric Leonard (@LeonardFiles)