[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Over 40 years later, police lastly know what occurred to Kirk Leonard Wiseman and Cynthia Lynn Frayer.
For many who don’t know, two teenage hitchhikers had plans to go to Crater Lake, a Nationwide Park in Oregon the place Frayer all the time needed to go to, once they vanished with no hint in September of 1978. Two months later, on November 17, the skeletal stays of the pair and a small canine had been discovered close to Lake of the Woods and the Lifeless Indian Freeway in Oregon.
Authorities discovered that Kirk, 19, and Cynthia, 17, had been shot a number of instances within the head with a small caliber firearm, and famous there was proof that Frayer had been sexually assaulted. Whereas digging by means of their belongings, investigators discovered a letter from Frayer to her dad and mom that by no means received mailed, by which she reportedly mentioned her journey plans, in addition to her hopes and desires.
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At a press convention Thursday, Detective Dan Towery recalled there have been “a number of leads, a number of folks [detectives] had been ,” but the murders remained unsolved for greater than 40 years. However the case discovered new life in 2018 when investigators submitted a number of items of proof to the crime lab, together with Frayer’s clothes.
They had been alerted of the presence of male DNA on her clothes a 12 months later and entered the pattern into the Mixed DNA Index System (CODIS); nevertheless, it didn’t hit on a suspect within the nationwide felon databank. So detectives reached out to forensic service Parabon NanoLabs, which makes use of DNA and family tree to assist remedy crimes. Lo and behold, Parabon gave regulation enforcement a doable suspect, Ray Whitson Jr., in the summertime of 2021.
Though investigators found that Whitson died in Texas in 1996, they had been capable of finding two of his youngsters, who agreed to supply DNA samples that ultimately confirmed the DNA discovered on the crime scene belonged to Whitson.
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On the press convention, Towery mentioned investigators found that Whitson moved to the Klamath Falls space in 1978 along with his household and labored in a close-by lumber mill. He had apparently gone tenting within the space the place the our bodies had been discovered, and relations confirmed to officers that the lumber employee carried round a .22 caliber pistol — the identical sort of gun used within the killings.
“At that time, based mostly on our suspect Mr. Whitson being deceased, now we have suspended the case at the moment … based mostly on his DNA being on the feminine sufferer’s physique.”
Klamath County District Lawyer Eve Costello famous on the presser that the case was lastly closed, which supplied a lot wanted “closure for a household,” including:
“As a result of when any person dies and also you don’t know actually what occurred, you simply know they left this universe in a very terrible manner, it leaves you with an enormous hole feeling. This work has allowed that household to have a point of peace.”
Costello famous that, after wanting on the case, if Whitson was alive, “now we have sufficient to cost.”
Our hearts exit to the victims’ households.
[Image via Klamath County Sheriff’s Department]