DNA inconclusive in 1959 murders


DNA inconclusive in 1959 murders


Date: August 13, 2013
by: Nolan Peterson | News Editor



The Sarasota Sheriff’s Office announced Monday DNA results from the latest attempt to crack a 54-year-old unsolved murder case.

DNA samples were extracted in December 2012 from the exhumed bodies of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, the two men suspected of murdering the Walker family, two parents and two children, on Dec. 19, 1959 in Osprey.

In 2012 the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office re-opened the investigation, which dates back to the Eisenhower administration, exploring possible links between the Walker family murders and Smith and Hickock who were convicted and executed for the 1959 murder of a family in Kansas.

Testing and comparison conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the private Paternity Testing Corporation resulted in partial DNA samples of Smith and Hickock that could not be matched to the previously developed suspect DNA profile from Christine Walker’s underwear.

The results of the latest tests were not conclusive, however, due to the degraded state of the DNA extracted from the 1959 crime scene as well as the DNA from Smith and Hickock’s exhumed remains.

The pair were executed by hanging in Kansas in April 1965.

Investigators still consider Smith and Hickock the most likely suspects. According to the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office, DNA evidence will not likely provide conclusive proof of their guilt.

The case remains open.

Contact Nolan Peterson at npeterson@yourobserver.com.


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