‘We want the murderer’: Family, detectives hoping DNA testing will solve 30-year-old cold case

Crime Files
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Investigators and family members of a 16-year-old killed 30 years ago in her Kansas City home continue to hold out hope that the case will be solved.

The murder of Fawn Cox drove her sister, Amber Gonzalez, mad for years.

“I ended up in the hospital because I got so overwhelmed,” Gonzalez said. “I was obsessed with her case.”

Now 45, Gonzalez has since learned to cope with the loss, but she still wants her sister’s killer found.

“I looked up to her so much,” she said. “I wanted to be just like her. She was my protector.”

In July 1989, Cox was sleeping in her upstairs bedroom on East 9th Street. Someone broke in and raped and strangled the teen, all while her family slept downstairs.

“That’s a very sick individual, evil,” her sister said.

Sgt. Benjamin Caldwell with the KCPD Cold Case Unit said several suspects have been cleared over the years, including a neighbor and three juveniles, who were charged.

However, their DNA samples didn’t match DNA that investigators collected at the scene, including a hat believed to have belonged to the killer.

“We’ve managed to exclude all family members,” Caldwell said. “We’ve managed to exclude those three that were arrested and charged and numerous other parties. So we’re kind of back to square one.”

Investigators are now working with federal partners to secure money to do genealogy testing.

“There is no program as it were right now,” Caldwell explained. “I think San Francisco is the first with the Golden Gate Killer and they’re a large department and were able to fund it.”

He said it would potentially take tens of thousands of dollars to sustain a genealogy program — money the department doesn’t have.

“It would take hopefully volunteers from the community you know if we could establish a fund like that,” Caldwell said. “Right now, we’re working to try and get the money and we could see kind of a pilot program where we could gain additional money and sustain it.”

Caldwell said they would like to have that funding by the end of the year.

There are also websites like Ancestry and 23andMe that could potentially find a match, but that hasn’t proven to be successful yet.

“The computer’s constantly searching for matches,” Caldwell said. “Every felon, every person that goes to prison, their DNA is automatically uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), and its constantly seeking matches for unknown profiles that we upload.”

Thirty years later and Gonzalez remains hopeful. She said any tip means her family is one step closer to finding closure.

“We just want the last puzzle of the case,” Gonzalez said. “We want the murderer.”

Investigators believe there were others present when cox was killed. They’re just looking for that eyewitness or someone with direct knowledge to come forward.

If you have any information, call the TIPS Hotline at 474-TIPS or call the KCPD Homicide Unit.

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