GREAT BEND (AP) — Investigators announced Tuesday they have gathered new DNA evidence they hope will lead to a break in the murders of two Kansas women at a bakery 20 years ago.
A delivery driver found the bodies of Mandi Alexander, 24, and Mary Drake, 79, on the evening of September 4, 2002, at a Dolly Madison Bakery store in Great Bend, Kansas.
Drake was a client and Alexander had started working as a clerk the week she was killed.
Investigators said they were killed with a sharp object, but the murder weapon was never found. Although there was money missing from the cash drawer at the bakery, authorities are unsure if the theft was the motive for the crimes.
A man’s DNA was found in a sample taken from one of the victims, Kansas Bureau of Investigation special agent Cory Latham told a news conference. He did not specify which woman the DNA came from.
Latham said that last year KBI officers and medical examiners reviewed all of the evidence gathered in the case, focusing on technology that surpassed what was available in 2002.
Investigators have not found enough DNA to enter it into a national database of criminal offenders. However, investigators could match it to a DNA sample from someone if they were to find a suspect.
“So, while helpful, it doesn’t help answer the question of who this person is today. But it’s promising and we hope it helps us in the future,” Latham said.
He said Great Bend police, Barton County sheriff’s deputies and KBI officers had collected numerous DNA samples in the past and held Tuesday’s press conference to encourage anyone who may have every relevant detail about the case to come forward.