OH OH - Sharon Katz, 21, OSU student, Columbus, 29 Sept 1970

Discussion in 'Resolved Cold Cases' started by MaryLiz, Oct 23, 2006.

  1. MaryLiz

    MaryLiz New Member

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    Here is a story from a newspaper in Akron that was in our local paper today. I heard about this about 4 years ago when the sister first approached LE in Columbus about possible DNA testing. I'm glad the family finally has a solution to this tragedy. Too bad the perp won't pay for his crime, at least here on earth.

    http://www.ohio.com/mld/beaconjournal/15823736.htm
     
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  3. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    The newspaper story indicates that he strangled and raped another woman and left her for dead. She survived and he got three years for it.

    How many others were there?
     
  4. docwho3

    docwho3 New Member

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    Someday someone needs to set up a map and database with serial killers color coded known areas of travel for each year so you could look at an area on the map and bring up a list of known serial killers (or just plain killers known to have attacked more than one victem or who fit a serial killer M.O.) who operated in the area in the years in question.
     
  5. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    That might be a worthwhile project, using the known serial killers as a start, and including missing persons, unsolved murders, and unknown victims (Jane and John Does).

    One major problem with such a data base would be the fact that there are so many serial killers who are "under the radar". These might be killers who have never been caught, or could be incarcerated persons who were only convicted of one crime, but who may have committed others.
     
  6. MaryLiz

    MaryLiz New Member

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    Good question...Maybe he did the 1972 crime because he got away with the one in 1970. But I doubt he stopped after getting out of prison. From his violent MO it sounds like he was a serial offender and I'm sure just didn't stop with 2 victims. Now that they have his DNA from his family they can maybe search other unsolved crimes with similar MOs and see if it was him.

    docwho3....great idea about the color-coded map and database. It might be effective to help LE catch some of the offenders before they do it again.

    I was finally able to access the article as it appeared in my local paper today and there is a photo of her. I hope this link comes through okay.

    http://epaper.limaohio.com/Daily/skins/LIMA/navigator.asp?skin=Lima&BP=OK&AW=1161644217062
     
  7. MaryLiz

    MaryLiz New Member

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    well that didn't work...maybe this will....the article appears again below and you can see her photo clicking on the link at the very bottom..



    OSU student’s 1970 slaying solved



    DNA evidence helps close case


    By JOHN FUTTY The Columbus Dispatch




    COLUMBUS — Something was wrong.
    Nathan Katz sensed it when his wife didn’t answer phone calls to their Columbus apartment on Sept. 29, 1970.
    She was supposed to be home in case workers stopped by to fix some of the problems in their new town house.
    Katz went home during his lunch hour and found the bedroom in disarray and the bathroom door locked.
    When the apartment manager helped him open the door, they found a crime scene that shook the city.
    Sharon Leichtman Katz’s nude body was in the bathtub, binder twine wrapped around her neck.
    Whoever raped and strangled the 21-year-old Ohio State student left behind plenty of physical evidence, but crime scene technology was primitive in 1970. Two years later, the crime was labeled a cold case.
    Then, this month, Columbus police announced that DNA evidence had solved the 36-yearold crime.
    The victim’s family never thought the crime would be solved, even after one of Sharon Katz’s two sisters, Nori Hart, persuaded investigators to take a fresh look at the case in 2001.
    Detective Ralph Taylor of the cold case unit was assigned to the reopened investigation.
    The crime was haunting. Katz’s body had been dumped in scalding water that blistered her skin.
    Nathan Katz, who was 23 at the time and worked for the Ohio Department of Taxation, was considered a suspect. The couple had been married for nine months.
    But there were dozens of others police were looking at as well.
    The apartment complex was still under construction, with workers wandering in and out of buildings.
    The couple were high school sweethearts from Dayton who married in December 1969. They moved to the apartment complex less than a month before the slaying.
    Columbus police homicide detectives set up an office in a vacant apartment and spent weeks conducting interviews.
    They focused on workers, interviewing more than 50.
    The family pushed police to reopen the case in January 2001, after Hart read a newspaper story about Reynoldsburg police using DNA evidence to solve a 22-year-old homicide. In reopening the Sharon Katz case, the detective saw some promising leads and learned that the physical evidence still existed, including swabs from the body that were preserved in slides.
    Those slides yielded DNA. Taylor sought and obtained DNA from Nathan Katz and a handful of other suspects, each of whom was cleared.
    But the case file provided an intriguing name. Among those interviewed by detectives within days of the crime was a 21-yearold plumber named James Keifer, who was working in the complex on the day of the attack.
    He denied any involvement.
    A little more than a year after the killing, police encountered Keifer again.
    He was arrested and confessed to attacking and nearly killing a 29-year-old housewife in her Columbus home on Jan. 7, 1972. The woman, whom Keifer knew from doing plumbing work in the house, had been choked unconscious, stripped naked and left for dead in the garage. Keifer pleaded guilty to assault with intent to kill and served three years in prison.
    Police again interviewed Keifer about the Katz case, and he again denied committing the crime. A detective noted in his summary that Keifer should be considered a suspect in the 1970 slaying.
    “When I did focus on Keifer and got his history, I thought, ‘This is him,’” Taylor said.
    But in May 2002, Keifer died of an asthma attack at age 53. His family had cremated him, along with whatever DNA evidence police had hoped to gather.
    Taylor located Keifer’s parents, who agreed to supply DNA. It was their samples, from cheek swabs, that police used to link Keifer to the crime.


    [​IMG]
    Katz
     

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