The 1976 murder of Karen Klaas, the ex-wife of Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers, transfixed the nation before becoming Hermosa Beach's longest-running cold case. But the 41st anniversary of her death Monday finally brought "closure." Los Angeles police say Klaas' killer has been identified as Kenneth Troyer, who died in 1982, using a controversial DNA-testing technique. Authorities say Troyer—seen walking near Klaas' home in the days before the crime—sexually assaulted and strangled the 32-year-old mother of two in her home, reports the Los Angeles Times. She died five days later. Troyer has been linked to other sexual assaults in California, police say, but was never required to submit his DNA to a database.
However, police were able to compile a DNA profile in 2009 and began searching for similar DNA among relatives of convicts, known as "familial DNA," as a "last resort" in 2011, per the Washington Post. Last year, their efforts led them to Troyer, who escaped from prison, where he was serving time for burglary, on the sixth anniversary of Klaas' assault in 1982 and was later shot and killed. "Familial DNA search is the only reason Troyer was identified in this horrific crime," a sheriff tells the AP. "I couldn't be more blown away with the technology," says Klaas' eldest son, adding he can now "experience the joy of closure." "I always had hope that I would find out [who killed Klaas]," adds Bill Medley. "It's just nice to close the book on this." (A trial for a 1984 murder is ongoing.)