GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Twenty-five years after the stabbing death of a 19-year-old woman in her Grand Forks apartment, the slaying continues to haunt the community and the investigators still searching for her killer.
Anna Korynta, known as Annie to friends, was found dead in her downtown basement apartment. From the beginning, detectives knew her death would be difficult to solve: There was no forced entry to the apartment, no signs of a struggle, no sexual assault and no witnesses. The murder weapon was never found.
As the mystery reaches the quarter-century mark, Kari Simmers, Korynta’s niece, said her family is still reeling. Simmers was 18 when her aunt was killed and made the grisly discovery in the apartment the two young women shared.
“Blood was splattered everywhere,” Simmers told the Grand Forks Herald for a Friday story. “It’s just amazing that they didn’t find more evidence.”
Police are still trying. The case has lingered with law enforcement. One detective previously told the Herald that he became obsessed with bringing the killer to justice.
Homicides were, and still are, rare in North Dakota. In 1987, there were 10 in the whole state, according to the FBI. Korynta’s death was particularly brutal, as she was stabbed multiple times in the torso and, based on defense injuries to her hands, had fought her attacker.
Korynta’s death was made even more tragic in that she herself was in mourning: Her boyfriend, Peter Steinhofer, had died in a car accident about a month earlier. The two had gotten engaged the night of the accident, family said.
“Some 19-year-old girl shouldn’t be violently stabbed to death like she was,” retired police investigator Dennis Eggebraaten told WDAZ-TV. Eggebraaten thinks the killer is still in the area.
Police Sgt. Bill Macki said there has been a person of interest from the beginning of the investigation, and he hopes that at some point evidence will lead to an arrest. Though there have been no significant breaks in years, police say they haven’t given up hope that a new witness or new DNA evidence could eventually crack the case.
“As technology advances, it certainly makes it more likely that cases such as this are going to be solved,” Macki told the TV station.
Police believe Korynta knew her assailant, since she was dressed in her nightgown and apparently let the killer into her apartment.
The case now has landed on the desk of Police Detective Steve Conley.
“I don’t know how you go through it and not be affected by the fact justice hasn’t been served,” Conley told the Herald. “You always invest yourself into something like this.”
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