DNA evidence points to child’s murderer after 38 years

Kelly Ann Prosser, who went missing in 1982.
Kelly Ann Prosser, who went missing in 1982. Source: Ohio Attorney General
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Daily US Times: Police in Columbus, Ohio, said in a stunning announcement that they finally cracked the cold case on Kelly Ann Prosser. Police sorted out who abducted, sexually assaulted and killed the 8-year-old, all thanks to DNA evidence, genealogical testing and a podcast tracing the history of the case. After nearly 38 years of waiting, the family of the kid finally has some closure.

Kelly Ann was abducted in Columbus’ University District on September 20, 1982, while walking home from Indianola Elementary School. Her body was discovered in a cornfield in nearby Madison County tow days later.

Columbus Deputy Police Chief Greg Bodker said this during a news conference Friday.

Case details from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office say Prosser had been sexually assaulted, beaten and strangled.

What was left behind was what — after years — helped investigators solve the case.

Bodker said: “This is a case that throughout the years all of CPD wanted to solve, and a case that affected all personnel on a personal level.”

Kelly Ann Prosser. Source: Ohio Attorney General.

“Imagine in 1982 collecting something that you didn’t know would one day exist — DNA,” he added.

Suspect was released months before killing

Columbus Deputy Police Chief said evidence preserved from the crime scene proved to be the key for solving the case decades later.

Mr Bodker identified Prosser’s killer as “Harold Warren Jarrell,” a now-deceased man who was not mentioned in the original Prosser case file.

Jarrell was charged and convicted in 1977 with abducting a different 8-year-old girl from Tamarack Circle, on the north side of Columbus.

Sgt. Terry McConnell said, Jarrell was released in January 1982, eight months before Prosser’s abduction.

Prosser’s family thanked law enforcement for their dedication to solve the case over nearly four decades.

In a statement read aloud by McConnell during Friday’s news conference added: “When Kelly Ann left for school, the morning of September 20, 1982, we did not expect our time with her would abruptly end or that our future would change in every way imaginable.”

The DNA evidence collected was entered into the CODIS in 2014 or 2015, but no matches came out of the database. CODIS is a national database of DNA samples used by law enforcement.

In March, the police department partnered with Advance DNA, a forensic genealogy research company, which used the DNA sample to assemble a family tree for the potential suspect and provide additional leads for the detectives.

McConnell said police were able to confirm the link between Jarrell and Prosser after obtaining DNA samples from Jarrell’s living relatives.

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