Hobart police still hoping to get a break in 23-year-old cold case murder

2013-06-22T18:30:00Z 2013-06-23T23:54:03Z Hobart police still hoping to get a break in 23-year-old cold case murderDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | Nearly 23 years have passed, but Al Zertuche clearly remembers the last time he saw his fiancé, Mary Lou Kolczak, alive.

"I was leaving to go to work and I told her I would see her later, but by the time I got home it was all over," Zertuche said.

Kolczak, who was 49 at the time of her death, was  shot and killed on June 26, 1990 after she arrived at her home, 2309 W. 3rd Ave., Hobart.

Her killer was never found.

"She didn't have an enemy in the world. I don't have any idea of who could have killed her," Zertuche said.

Police Detective James Gonzales, who grew up in Hobart and was in high school at the time the crime was committed, is convinced it can be solved.

He's asking for neighbors, friends or former coworkers to come forward with information.

"Someone out there heard or saw something. Whoever did it doesn't have a conscience but might have told somebody," Gonzales said.

Kolczak, the mother of two adult sons, worked as a bookkeeper for Enamel Products, then located in Portage.

She had ended her shift at approximately 11 p.m. then arrived home, police said.

Her son said he was watching television in the upstairs living room, located above the garage, when he reported hearing two loud popping noises. He initially dismissed them as children lighting off firecrackers, police said.

A short time later, he heard a groaning noise coming from the basement and went to check and found his mother slumped over on the ground and bleeding.

Her son called the police and ambulance, which took her to St. Mary Medical Center, and she was pronounced dead a short time later from gunshot that entered near her heart.

Initially, it was believed that the murder of Kolczak might have been linked to a series of so-called bump and rob incidents at the time, some of which had occurred on U.S. 30 and Liverpool Road.

Her murder didn't follow the same pattern as those incidents and when Kolczak was found on the floor in her basement, she still had her purse on her shoulder, Gonzales said.

"If robbery would have been a motive there would have been evidence and her purse would have been stolen," Gonzales said.

Police have ruled out involvement in the murder by her fiancé, who was at work at Mono-Sol Plastics in Portage, and her son, who was interviewed several times by detectives and passed a voice stress test.

Gonzales said the memory of the 1990 murder is something that has stuck with him because it was at a time when Hobart still had that feeling of small-town innocence.

"Things like that just didn't happen here," Gonzales said.

Anyone with information can contact Gonzales at (219) 942-4405.

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