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DNA Cracks Unsolved Murders



By: Emily Zhang


Detectives have linked the evidence of the decades-old unsolved killings of Kari Lenander, Beverly Cruise, Debra Cruise and Trina Wilson to 75-year-old Billy Ray Richardson. He was arrested by the police department in Texas on Friday.


DNA evidence helped solve the four-decade old the mystery of the. In the 2000s, a test from a private lab showed that the killer was Black. “That information limited the direction I needed to go,” Detective Tim Marcia told the magazine. “Instead of having one big, whole pie, I got it down to a quarter of the pie.”


This was a big break in the long-going case. It was long believed that the murderer was white because of evidence from the night 15-year-old Ms. Lenander was murdered. In 1980, she and her best friend were alone at a party when they went dancing and decided to hitchhike back –which you should never do. Ms. Lenander’s best friend, Toni Garfield, said that they were picked up by a “white” man who said his name was “Ken”. Ms. Garfield got dropped off at home, but Ms. Lenander wanted to “keep partying” with Ken. Five hours later, the dead body of Ms. Lenander was found at a South Los Angeles neighborhood.


Months before this crime, Beverly Cruise, age 25, and her sister, Debra Cruise, 22, were found shot in the head in a West Los Angles apartment. Their brother reported the crime and said that he had come visit the apartment because he had not heard from his sisters in days. Mr. Richardson, the killer, also murdered Ms. Wilson in 1995 at an Inglewood Park, though her death is not marked as clearly as the others, meaning that the exact way how she died is unknown to the public.


The DNA tests and profiles were ever so helpful in finding out who was behind this horrid crime. In payment, the Inglewood City Council paid $25,000 to the labs that found out the murdering.


Some lessons are learned from this: never go hitchhiking and when you don’t hear from a family member for so long, know that something is wrong.



Sources

• https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/16/us/billy-richardson-cold-case-california.html

• https://da.lacounty.gov/media/news/texas-man-charged-four-decades-old-murders

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