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DULUTH - 30 years ago, a young girl's murder rocked Duluth to its core. Police -- finding the body of Carrie Andrew, 17, in a pond. But the killer has never found after all these years. In a FOX 21 exclusive, Dan Hanger talks with investigators who say there's new hope to solving this cold case and others as technology changes.
"She was a very bright, gregarious young woman with a bright future ahead of her," said Lt. Scott Drewlo of the Duluth Police Dept.
Drewlo said Carolyn Andrew, better known as Carrie, left her home about 7:30 p.m. May 5, 1981 to go to the bowling alley on Calvary Road.And the next time she was found, he said, was about 2:30 p.m. the next day -- face down in Twin Ponds.
"Autopsy confirmed that she had been killed by a single gunshot wound to the head," Drewlo said.
The shooting would be ruled a homicide with no clear motive to this day."She was real active in the community, and so it was actually a pretty wide pool of names of people that investigators at that time talked to."
But all those leads came up cold for investigators just like the case would become and still is today.
"Their interviews really didn't give them any leads --anything to follow up on," Drewlo explained.
While Drewlo was not on the police force at the time of this senseless crime, he and other Duluth and state investigation have taken on the case since 2008 because new and stronger DNA technology is bringing new life to evidence, specifically a man's bodily fluid found on Carrie's body.
"That's why this case has gotten so much of our attention, because it is ... it's basically a fresh scent on the trail," Drewlo said.
Jerry Koneczny is a special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who explained that back in 1981 when the case took place, DNA was not around.And now he and BCA scientists in St. Paul are working closely with Duluth investigators to help find Carrie's killer -- one DNA sample at a time -- all with the hope of a match.
"The break could come right now. It could come on the next sample or the next sample after that. It's hard to say," Koneczny
Koneczny is right now waiting on DNA results from a now–deceased man in the Twin Cities who was an associate of Carrie's when she was alive.
"DNA gives us specific individuals. It's as good or better than a finger print. It excludes people and includes people into crimes that are committed," Koneczny said.
With more than 100 interviews conducted and more than a dozen DNA samples collected so far, Drewlo and Koneczny say they won't stop working to solve Carrie's cold case and others until justice is finally served.
"You know, we want to get answers for the family. We want to tell them what happened to their daughter and why she's dead. And who's responsible for that," Koneczny said.
"Knowing what happened... and maybe start to heal... if there is any healing that can go on after an incident like this in your life," Drewlo said.
...a healing process that for Drewlo means returning Carrie's pocket change to the family -- change meant to end up at the bowling alley and not in an evidence bag.
"My dream is to personally hand her family -- her mother and father -- those six quarters. That was the last contact they had with their daughter and I want to give them that last contact," Drewlo said.
Carrie's family has since moved out of Minnesota but they are still in close contact with Duluth police as new leads develop.If you know anything that can help investigators find Carrie's killer or can help out in other violent crimes, never hesitate to call police to help bring some type of closure to families grieving every night.