Familial DNA test, retired detective's tenacity, solve 1992 murder case

San Diego police homicide Lt. Mike Holden said the evidence that
connected Falls was a "familial DNA" test — the first of its kind run by
a San Diego County law agency.

April 14, 2017

A reserve San Diego police detective, determined to make a difference while fighting cancer, took on a cold case and through DNA helped solve the horrific murder of a 84-year-old woman 25 years ago.

The killer, Jeffrey Falls, died in a 2006 freeway motorcycle crash in El Cajon at the age of 42.

Authorities announced at a news conference Friday that Falls, a teenager at the time, raped and stabbed Angela Kleinsorge to death in her Gaines Street home in the Morena neighborhood on Feb. 29, 1992. He had been the victim's neighbor.

San Diego police homicide Lt. Mike Holden said the evidence that connected Falls was a "familial DNA" test — the first of its kind run by a San Diego County law agency.

Routine DNA tests had failed to find a match because Falls, who was about 17 at the time of the murder, did not have DNA in any database system. But a partial match was made that indicated a family member, and that turned out to be one of Falls' brothers, a deceased convict.

The connection came about because retired San Diego police Detective Holly Erwin didn't give up on the case, or on herself.

She had retired in 2012 with a severe form of breast cancer. The diagnosis was devastating, Erwin said, but "I didn't want to lay down and die. You can still make a difference." She returned to work as a reserve officer.

Erwin tackled the Kleinsorge case with Detective Lori Adams. In August, they got the Department of Justice to accept the DNA sample from the case for familial DNA testing.

The victim's daughter, Hedy Kleinsorge, attended the news conference with her brother Ronald. She said as time passed with no arrest, she wondered if the killer thought he'd gotten away with it, or even gave it any thought.

News that the case had been solved, she said, was bittersweet.

"We finally had a suspect that was identified. But to learn it was a neighbor was horrifying to us," she said. She said she remembered the brothers, younger than herself, from the neighborhood.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said the cutting-edge DNA tests are run only in especially heinous cases where all other leads have dried up. California was the first state to adopt the technology in 2008, and has run 172 such tests since then.

A partial DNA match in the Kleinsorge case belonged to a convicted offender who had died, with high likelihood that he was a brother to the killer.

Investigators found out he had two brothers, one still living and one, Jeffrey Falls, who had died in the 2006 motorcycle crash. The county Medical Examiner's Office still had tissue from Falls' autopsy, and a DNA test on that tissue formed the final link to the murder scene.

San Diego police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said the case, which sat idle for more than two decades, "would still be unsolved if it weren't for the tenacious and persistent efforts of retired Detective Holly Erwin and criminalist Adam Dutra."

Lt. Holden said Jeffrey Falls was contacted during a witness check during the original investigation, and he told investigators he was not home during the time of the murder.

Investigators were unable to corroborate his statement, Holden said, but had no reason at that time to consider him a suspect.

Rate this blog entry:
Standardized rape kits good idea
Page PD Tests New Burn Barrel

Related Posts

Blotter - Latest News

News By Region

Keywords

St Thursday tampered evidence prosecutors security camera footage trooper arrested United Kingdom Texas Forensic Science Commission theft of money trooper sentenced release of evidence sheriff arrested untested sexual assault evidence seized property urn stealing cocaine Williams theft of drugs Wattier sexual assault cases unaccouted guns woochy poochy Wrongful Conviction stolen evidence Wichita Police Department Republican lawmakers stealing cash rape kits stealing guns untested rape kits Untested rape kit sexual assault evidence stealing money Theft STOLEN CASH stored as evidence storage bunker rape kit back log stolen money Sexual assault Survivors Bill of Rights stolen drug from evidence rape kit audit withholding evidence Stolen pills Standards rape evidence — stolen cannabis PropertyRoom.com employee Suicide untestted sexual assault kits stolen guns unsolved murder tapes edited sex crime wrongful conviction strange evidence work tampering with public record Sexual assault kit untested rape kit Storage State trooper accused state government statute of limitations stealing drug evidence unit skunky aroma wafted tape stolen OxyContin Rape Kits Backlog Sheriff Arrested Trial at Riak settlement stolen gun prosecutor tampering with police records Washington State Patrol crime lab SAKs South Dakota Highway Patrolman steal money State Agency Evidence Jobs Wrongful conviction sentence to prison sergeant charged report Wednesday report Thursday.Charles Holifield stored evidence returned evidence stolen ammunition Rape kit show Untested rape kits stealing pistols selling guns Sheriff pleads guilty sexual assault task force storage practices sheriffs employee gets jail sexual assault rape kit standardarization state chips Ventura County sheriff Untested Sexual Kits stealing drugs stolen jewelry Via URL Browse Media Upload stolen drugs sexual assault kit tampered drugs Year stolen methamphetamine Untest rape kits Sergeant Arrested tampering with evidence untestes rape kits threw away evidence sentence to jail stolne guns stolen cash stolen cocaine unaccounted drugs sloppy evidence control stolen marijuana Transient property side door sexual assault kits rcmp steal drugs serial rapist Property Room Jobs Prosecutor Arrested unwanted medications stolen meth West Coast Vancouver BC taking marijuana state prison rape kit backlog state Division Tulare Police Signed Out Evidence untested sexual kit week recovered property seized money State/Province sheriff rape kit trial

Search IAPE