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Cold case solved 27 years after murder

Carolyn J Heckert has been arrested in connection to the cold case murder of Sarah deLeon. Picture: Clay County Sheriff’s Department.

A WOMAN has been charged for the murder of a teenage girl whose mutilated body was found dumped near railway tracks nearly 30 years ago.

Sarah DeLeon, 18, was found dead in Kansas City, USA, on December 29, 1989

DeLeon had been stabbed and also suffered a head wound, according to police.

The case soon went cold until new DNA collection and testing technology prompted police to review the DeLeon case in July 2014.

Missouri woman Carolyn J. Heckert, 48, was this week charged with first degree murder in relation to the death of DeLeon, Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome Gorman announced on Thursday.

Heckert was arrested Wednesday in Smithville, Missouri, which is about 30km north of Kansas City, Kansas. She was being held Thursday in the Clay County jail on $1 million bond, awaiting extradition to Kansas. A lawyer for Heckert didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment.

DeLeon’s mother Gail Elieson said she was “quite pleased” that charges had been laid.

“It just took a long time to get to this point,” she said in a telephone interview from her Colorado home.

“It will be 27 years in December” since her daughter was slain, she said.

Cold case murder victim Sarah DeLeon. Picture: Supplied

Cold case murder victim Sarah DeLeon. Picture: SuppliedSource:Supplied

DeLeon was a “wonderful young woman,” who was studying at a community college, Elieson said. She said the attack on her daughter was “something very personal, with a lot of rage”.

“She had no enemies. Everybody loved her,” Elieson said. “She did not live a high-risk lifestyle.”

In May, detectives said the DeLeon homicide was also possibly linked to the unsolved 1994 slaying of 26-year-old Diana Marie Ault.

Ault was shot to death surrounded by her four-year-old son and six-month-old daughter in her Independence, Missouri, home, according to The Kansas City Star.

Detective Scott Howard said the suspect in the DeLeon case, who was not named at that time, “and an accomplice have been involved in other incidents involving the harassment and intimidation of romantic rivals”.

Detectives said then that they were also seeking information about a possible 1987 abduction that may have been related to the DeLeon case.

Kansas City, Kansas, police spokesman Officer Cameron Morgan said Thursday the suspect police were talking about in May was Heckert but he couldn’t comment further on the DeLeon investigation or any possible link to Ault’s death and the alleged 1987 abduction.

Independence, Missouri, police spokesman Officer John Syme said Thursday that department hasn’t had any contact with Kansas City, Kansas, police, regarding the Ault case and he could not comment on whether Heckert is a suspect in Ault’s death, which he said remains an open investigation.

Ault’s father, Bill Laskey, said that his daughter was “murdered in front of her kids” after returning home from watching the Super Bowl. He said he didn’t know Heckert, but was pleased at least that an arrest had been made in DeLeon’s death, calling it “way overdue.” He said he was still waiting for charges to be filed in his daughter’s death.

“We’re not looking for just anybody, any warm body to be hung for the murders of either of these two girls,” he said. “We’re just looking for the right person to be held accountable.”