Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Portland Cold Case #79-19210

Portland Police Bureau’s Cold Case Unit has only been in operation about two years, but they have been having a lot of success. Through DNA matches they have solved several cases recently, including finally linking Cheryl Ayer’s death to Randall Woodfield (The I-5 Killer) – remind me to tell you about him.

The cold case unit has "a total of about 280 unsolved murders right now in Portland, dating back to probably the early 1970s," says Sgt. Wayne Svilar, head of the unit. Among the vicitms of these unsolved murders are 63 women.

"Female victims, for the most part, are victims of physical contact cases," says Svilar. Close contact between the killer and victim means "there would be an exchange of some sort of evidence between them," says Svilar.

With all of the cases the cold case unit has solved in the last year survivors of murder victims must be feeling some hope. The case of Donna Kuzmaak is a case that has had little hope of being solved for a long time.

Kuzmaak,23, was found beaten, stabbed and strangled to death in the basement of her home on March 21, 1979. Kuzmaak was a young woman on the go working as a realtor at nearby E.G. Strasson in the pre-yuppie age. She left work early on the day of her death and went home.

She would have arrived home about 3pm. About 4:30pm her husband got home from work and found her body. The over-kill could suggest that she knew her killer, which is most often the case, but the 1970s were seeing an explosion of murder of random victims. Ted Bundy to the north and the Hillside Stranglers to the south are just two obvious examples.

So who killed Donna Kuzmaak. Many of us would like to know.

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