DULUTH, Minn. (WCCO) – Minnesota police believe they’re closer than ever to finding who killed a Minnesota teenager 31 years ago.
Special Agent Jerry Koneczny of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is working with Duluth Police Department to solve this case.
“And I think it’s the right thing to do. I mean, the family deserves closure. They deserve to know what happened to their daughter,” said Koneczny.
In 1981, a jogger found 17-year-old Carolyn Lee Andrew dead in a pond at Twin Ponds Recreation Center in Duluth. She was killed by a single gunshot to the head.
Lieutenant Scott Drewlo with Duluth Police Department especially wants to solve the case of this murdered teenager.
As he looks at the mountain of evidence investigators collected three decades ago, he doesn’t just think of the police work he’s been assigned. He also thinks of the personal work he still has to do.
“This case will be part of me, with me the rest of my life,” said Drewlo.
He pulled out a shoe that Andrew was wearing when she was killed, as well as a couple quarters.
“When her body was recovered, investigators noted there was currency, change in her pocket,” said Drewlo. “These six quarters were the last contact the parents had with their daughter.”
They gave her the money to play video games at the local bowling alley, only a half-mile from her home. Her body was discovered by a jogger the next day, eight miles away.
Family and friends first searched for Andrew on their own, before Duluth police got the call that her body was at Twin Ponds. Police conducted multiple interviews and tracked down leads, but after three decades, they’ve never arrested and charged anyone.
“I do have hope. I think this is a very solvable case,” said Koneczny.
He believes advances in technology, especially DNA advances, now give investigators the upper hand. They’re going back and re-examining evidence and information generated when the murder happened.
“Basically, we’re looking at it as if we’re investigating this case as if it happened today. All the people mentioned in there get re-examined under today’s standards, under today’s technology,” said Koneczny.
Forensic scientists are analyzing a number of DNA samples at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab in Saint Paul. It takes about two months to get results.
Even while Special Agent Koneczny waits for those results, he continues to make contact with new people who might know what happened to Andrew.
“The family deserves answers if you can give it to them, and in this case, we have that opportunity,” said Koneczny. “It’s been 31 years. It’s been 31 years for this family without their daughter. Somebody here has had 31 years to live their life. She was 17 years old at the time, and she’s missed out. It’s important to the family that they have a resolution to what happened to their daughter and who’s responsible. This is not an accident. This is a homicide.”
Lieutenant Drewlo has a second goal that has to do with Andrew’s coins.
“This is the personal piece I won’t let go of. This is the personal piece I’m saving for some day. I want to give back to her parents,” said Drewlo.
Those six quarters won’t make them rich financially. But the day they get them, they’ll be rich with information about who killed Andrew.
Her father and mother are also eager to find answers with the new DNA technology.
“We’re hopeful,” said her father, Robert. “But who knows at this late stage in the game.”
If you have information that could help police solve this case, contact them at (218) 730-5050.