AK AK - Jessica Baggen, 17, Sitka, 4 May 1996

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by norest4thewicked, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. Fishermom

    Fishermom Member

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    The AK cold case department resolved this case today: State Troopers making a live announcement at 3:15pm AK time. No link at this time (not sure why), only photo which I cannot upload... DNA from Steve Branch from Austin, Arkansas matched suspect DNA found on the victim's body. He committed suicide on Aug 3. Check AK State Trooper FB site for more info.
     


  2. norest4thewicked

    norest4thewicked True Crime Writer

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    I bet he knew they were getting close and decided to end his life. COWARD!!! I wonder if he was a Sitka resident (I never heard of him) or if he was there fishing. Monster!!!
     
  3. norest4thewicked

    norest4thewicked True Crime Writer

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    He was a farm worker in Arkansas. And, one of the West Memphis Three boys was named Stevie Branch with his dad being a Steve Branch. This must be a common name, but what if it's the same person?
     
  4. Fishermom

    Fishermom Member

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    During the press conference, the Troopers stated that he killed himself very soon after they presented a warrant for DNA collection. He was living in Sitka at the time of the murder and had been tried (and acquitted) of asexually assaulting another teen earlier in the summer of 1996. He left Sitka for Arkansas in 2010. Sad for the family, but hope this provides some closure. Sitka is a small town.
     
  5. :+:MrTT:+:

    :+:MrTT:+: Cold Case Files

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    You can rest in peace now Jessica.
     
  6. Drewsky

    Drewsky New Member

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  7. imstilla.grandma

    imstilla.grandma Well-Known Member

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    Investigators in Alaska used genetic genealogy to close the cold case killing of Jessica Baggen, who was raped and murdered after she celebrated her 17th birthday in 1996, authorities said Tuesday.

    A suspect identified in the case, Steve Branch, 66, died by suicide last week after state police investigators traveled to his home in Austin, Arkansas, to interview him about Baggen’s murder in the city of Sitka, southwest of Juneau, Alaska State Police Maj. Dave Hanson told reporters.

    After authorities tried to obtain a DNA sample, Branch denied involvement in the teen's slaying and refused to provide one, Hanson said. Thirty minutes after the officers left to get a warrant, Branch died by suicide, Hanson said.
    Investigators solve cold case of Alaska teen who was raped, murdered in 1996
     
  8. norest4thewicked

    norest4thewicked True Crime Writer

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    Sitka was only 8500 people back then. My daughters all went to school with the Baggen girls. This is a resolution for the family, and I am happy for that. I wish that the coward had lived to face trial and conviction though. Now, the family will never know what happened. :(
     
  9. imstilla.grandma

    imstilla.grandma Well-Known Member

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  10. mlhenn

    mlhenn Well-Known Member

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  11. SouthernSummer

    SouthernSummer Active Member

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    I don’t know him or his family but Austin is about 20 minutes away from us and is not a big place. Like...only 4,400 people. I read his obit and have looked up his record in AR. If he had a middle intial “A” he’s gotten in some trouble since moving to Arkansas. I really wonder if he’s responsible for any other unsolved cases. I hope someone is digging further into this. I’d be really interested to read about his acquittal too. He’s been in Arkansas for 23 years!
     
  12. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    AUDIO.
    Aug 28 2020
    Richard Bingham was acquitted, but never free of suspicion in Alaska's most notorious cold case murder - until now - KCAW
    ''Twenty-four years after he faced trial for a murder he did not commit, Richard Bingham feels entitled to compensation.''
    ''Bingham is 59 years old now, retired and dealing with MS and other health problems. He’s made his living working in temporary services. Twenty-four years ago he was employed at Sheldon Jackson College, near the scene of Jessica’s murder. He had been a student there — Class of ‘81 — but never advanced beyond his sophomore year.

    Bingham — for reasons that may never be fully understood — confessed to the crime. But it didn’t take long at trial for his public defender to prove that the confession had been coerced, and that no physical evidence whatsoever tied Bingham to the events of the evening.

    Still, he says a cloud of suspicion continued to follow him, even after he moved out of town''.
     
    imstilla.grandma and MajorHoople like this.
  13. imstilla.grandma

    imstilla.grandma Well-Known Member

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    Unsolved for 25 years, 2020 finally brought answers to the cold-case murder of Jessica Baggen. Jessica’s death left an indelible impression on how we thought about ourselves and our community. And the ending of the story is just as hard to understand as the beginning.

    The suspect, Steve Allen Branch, took his own life in Arkansas after investigators confronted him last August. They were led to him by a technique called “genetic genealogy” that is being used all over the country to solve cold case crimes.

    “While Branch will never face a jury of his peers in this case, we can finally say that Jessica’s case is solved,”

    Amanda Price, Alaska’s Commissioner of Public Safety
    Price said that the genetic genealogy methods used to find Jessica Baggen’s killer will continue to be applied by investigators, meaning “there is no amount of time that can pass that a case can not be a priority for this department.”
    2020: The year we came together, living distantly - KCAW
     
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