02-28-2006, 06:37 AM #1Former member
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
CA - Lisa Gondek, 20, Oxnard, 12 December 1981
As a killer roams the streets, the victim's family says investigators have dropped the ball. Tonight hear it in their own words.
Channel 3 I-Team reporter Kara Sundlun has the story of a Connecticut woman killed in California in 1981.
SUNDLUN: Investigators here at the state crime lab in Meriden say DNA is the key to solving this case. But it doesn't belong to them. Lisa Gondek was killed in California. Her mother says red tape and lousy police work are standing in the way of justice.
Gondek was 20 years old and had her whole life in front of her when she left her home in East Hartford for sunny California. But she only lived for six more months before someone killed her and set her apartment on fire.
"When you have children from the time their baby's if their upset hurt you take care of it as a mother and make it better," says her mother Gloria Maynard. "I can't make this better."
Gloria Maynard has been waiting 24 years for justice.
Her daughter's 1981 murder is one of the oldest cold cases in Oxnard, California. north of Los Angeles.
"I think it was such a bad job of police work at the time," Maynard says.
In the beginning police thought Lisa was killed by someone who brought her home from the bar that night.
She was found strangled in the bathtub, and the killer tried to rape her. A bite mark was the only clue.
"The bite mark was the only evidence they had because of the fire," Maynard said.
But that bite mark wasn't an exact match to the suspect, and back in 1981 police didn't have DNA technology so there wasn't enough evidence to charge that man.
As it turns out, he didn't do it.
The I-Team discovered recent DNA tests have now exonerated him and linked Lisa's murder to another cold case in the next town over.
We found out a serial killer may still be on the loose.
"You have two victims that they can link that they know for sure," said Captain Paul Krisavage of the state crime lab. "How many other victims? I'm not sure."
Krisavage works at the state crime lab in Meriden. He was one of many to get a letter pleading for help from Lisa's mom.
At the captain's urging the state has offered to let police in California use Connecticut's lab for free. Even doctor Henry Lee -- who used to run our state lab -- has offered to help.
Police in California have not accepted the offers. And they tell eyewitness news they can't discuss the case because it's under investigation.
"One time the district attorney out in California said to me 'if you just had more faith in god and could let your daughter go you would be much happier.' I thought you don't have children," Maynard said.
The I-Team located Debbie Beacham in Manchester who was Lisa's roommate when she was murdered. In all these years detectives never called her.
The I-team has discovered both Lisa and the other woman killed frequented the same bar.
"There was no forced entry..maybe she knew him and opened the door," said Beacham.
"I would feel like if they caught them at least I did something.someone had to pay for her death," Maynard says.
In California new laws require prisoners to give DNA samples. Detectives are hoping they will find a match soon.
But if the killer isn't in jail for something else, they may never find him unless he strikes again.
03-01-2006, 12:20 AM #2
This reminds me of another case from southeastern Texas. I am thinking Lufkin, but will have to check. A young woman, 19 or 20, was found dead in her apartment after someone had set fire to her bed. She was in the bed, but dead before the fire. Police, at least early on, believed she had invited someone she met in a bar to her apartment. I think this was in the 90s. I'll go looking.
04-18-2015, 03:09 PM #3
From February 2011:
Sheriff's detectives received plenty of tips after two young women were raped and strangled 11 months apart in 1981, but the cases were never solved. Three decades later, cold case investigators from the Ventura County Sheriff's Department are revisiting those leads, using DNA evidence to determine whether any of those mentioned early on in the cases of Rachel Zendejas and Lisa Gondek were responsible for their deaths...
"The DNA evidence alone is so unique to the case... Once we get a match, that'll be it," said Aviles, one of three part-time detectives in the sheriff's cold case unit...
Zendejas' killing was initially investigated by the Sheriff's Department; the Oxnard police handled Gondek's case. The homicides weren't linked until DNA evidence surfaced more than 20 years after their deaths. Genetic evidence showed the same man killed both women, but it didn't match any known offender. The only other concrete link between the killings was Huntington's night club in Oxnard, which both women visited within hours of their deaths.
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