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Arrest made in Colorado Springs cold case, 20-year-old female Fort Carson soldier murdered

Police found DNA evidence on the victim's body, but it took years to identify a suspect.

June 14, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - More than three decades after a Fort Carson soldier was found strangled to death, police believe they caught her murderer.

Arrest papers obtained by 11 News detail how authorities tracked the alleged killer down. Police found DNA evidence on the victim's body, but it took years to identify a suspect. The arrest papers lay out how authorities linked distant family members through a DNA ancestry organization to identify the suspect.

After identifying the suspect, authorities tracked him to his home and followed him to work. They watched him drink from a fast food cup and then left it at the restaurant. The arrest papers go on to read detectives obtained the cup for DNA testing, helping lead to the arrest.

Colorado Springs Police announced the arrest of 58-year-old Michael Whyte on Friday for the murder of Darlene Krashoc. Krashoc, 20 at the time, was found dead behind the Korean Club Restaurant on March 17, 1987. Krashoc was an active duty soldier stationed at Fort Carson, assigned to the 73rd Maintenance Company. Police say she was out the night before with members of her unit at a local club named Shuffles. She was last seen leaving the club between midnight and 1 in the morning.

Authorities are reporting Krashoc was strangled to death and her body had likely been moved and placed at the Korean Club Restaurant. Following hundreds of interviews the case went cold.

"In 2016, Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), in concert with Colorado Springs Police Department, submitted evidence to the United States Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory for additional DNA testing in a collective effort to identify additional potential leads. The testing included re-analysis of previously submitted items for Y-STR and evaluation for Phenotyping," Colorado Springs Police wrote in a press release.

Using the DNA, experts were able to find "produced trait predictions" for the suspect. Those traits included eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a "Snapshot" composite was produced depicting what the suspect may have looked like at the age of approximately 25 –years-old, as well as a composite picture depicting what the suspect may look like now at the approximate age of 50 to 55-years-old (the age depictions of the suspect are approximate as the true age of the suspect remains unknown).

Police wanted to make it clear that the DNA profile was a scientific approximation.

On March 13, 2017, the DNA composite profile was shared with the public.

This year, CSPD and Army CID sought laboratory completion of Genetic Genealogy (GG) DNA analysis on the unknown suspect DNA profile. As a result, the investigation culminated in identifying 58-year-old Michael Whyte as the suspect in this investigation.

On Thursday, Whyte was arrested in Thornton. He was taken to the Adams County Detention facility with a no-bond warrant for first-degree murder.

"Words cannot convey the satisfaction we are feeling from this arrest," said Major General David Glaser, the Provost Marshal General of the Army and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. "I'm extremely proud of our special agents on this case led by Special Agent Jessica Veltri. They have worked tirelessly and shoulder to shoulder with the Colorado Springs Police Department and the quiet professionals from our U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory on this investigation. We sincerely hope that today's announcement in some small way brings comfort to the family and friends of Spc. Darlene Krashoc."

CSPD Cold Case Detective's Joe Somosky and Jim Isham, under the direction of Sergeant Korey Dabb, are responsible for the investigation of more than 100 unsolved homicide cases dating back to the 1940's. Their diligence and hard work on behalf of the victims they are serving is exemplified in this and the many other investigations they are actively continuing.

"There is a lot to be proud of today," says Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski. "The work done by these detectives has been nothing short of exceptional. Since 1987, CSPD Cold Case Detectives, Violent Crimes Detectives, and U.S. Army CID Investigators have worked tirelessly to bring this investigation to a conclusion. Throughout these last 32 years, they never lost sight of what was most important: Finding answers for Ms. Krashoc's family. We hope this arrest will provide those answers and some comfort."

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