Killer of Righteous Brother's ex-wife identified

January 29, 2017
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The person who raped and killed the ex-wife of Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley in 1976 has been identified using a controversial DNA testing technique.

More than 40 years after Karen Klass was murdered, investigators say they have tracked down her attacker using DNA from a relative of the suspect.

The 32-year-old victim was strangled and sexually assaulted as she returned to her home in Hermosa Beach, near Los Angeles.

She died in hospital a few days later having never regained consciousness.

Speaking in 2000, Medley said: “Karen was very loved and respected, and it was a horror what happened to her.

“She has a lot of friends who would like to see this resolved.”

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the cold case “was solved through the use of familial DNA, which identified the killer”.

However, a sheriff’s spokeswoman would not name the suspect or say whether an arrest had been made.

District attorney Jackie Lacey and Los Angeles County sheriff Jim McDonnell are expected to reveal more details on Monday.

As a result of a renewed appeal in 2009, investigators said two witnesses had seen a shaggy-haired, bearded man in a trench coat and blue jeans leaving Ms Klaas’ home, but he was never seen again.

The authorities said at the time they were able to compile a DNA profile of Ms Klaas’ killer, but that it did not match anyone in the national database.

The DNA technique used to now solve the case allows detectives to search law enforcement databases to identify likely relatives of the suspect.

Police have defended the method arguing it can provide valuable leads, but it has stoked controversy because it potentially puts law-abiding citizens under genetic surveillance.



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