LaPorte County cold case reopened

2013-03-10T17:45:00Z 2013-03-11T08:05:03Z LaPorte County cold case reopenedStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 10, 2013 5:45 pm  • 

LAPORTE | Juanita Boyd was found stabbed and strangled with a cord in the trunk of her car, and since her 1981 murder the books have never been closed on the case.

LaPorte County authorities along with her now 41-year-old son, Kevin, hope evidence submitted for DNA testing brings closure.

"We're just going to wait on what the forensic science tells us," said LaPorte County Police Chief of Detectives Pat Cicero.

The 31-year-old Boyd, a single mother working as a cleaning lady at the county courthouse and county complex, was last seen February 22, 1981, at the old Snyder’s Corner Tavern at 1st and J streets in LaPorte.

Her body was found five days later inside the trunk of her green 1970 Pontiac Catalina in an area known then as "Lover's Lane" off Forrester Road near Pinola, several miles west of LaPorte.

LaPorte County Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer was a detective at the department then and remembers the rush and many hours put in by investigators to try to come up with a suspect.

He said "a person of interest" developed but the evidence was never enough to make an arrest.

"We were scurrying around and ran into a lot of dead ends," Mollenhauer said.

Evidence preserved since the killing has been resubmitted to the Indiana State Police Crime Lab in hopes that modern DNA technology can assist in identifying a potential suspect.

Cicero said the woman was last seen at the bar with a man who "to our knowledge" is still alive and resides in LaPorte County.

He said Boyd and the man knew each other, but Cicero would not disclose what may have led up to the killing or specifically what pieces of evidence will undergo DNA testing.

He did say the evidence was gathered from the trunk of the car.

"They were seen together that night at the tavern," Cicero said.

Police also hope that by going public with the case someone who may have kept quiet on what they know about the homicide will come forward now to help provide answers.

''It's worth seeing if we can get some additional leads,'' Mollenhauer said.

He said nothing specific led to the case being reopened.

He said his office every once in awhile takes a fresh look at unsolved murders to try to bring conclusion to the loved ones of the victims.

"The families are still grieving, so we're going to do our best and use modern science to help us," Cicero said.

Kevin Boyd, now of Rolling Prairie, was just 9 when his mother was murdered.

He said his struggles with the death have become easier over the years but it's a loss he's never forgotten.

"Every single day I think about my mother and I miss her," said Boyd, who described his mother as happy-go-lucky and loved by many people.

He's also found peace knowing that if the killer never goes to prison, judgment eventually will be cast.

"Either way I'm OK with it," Boyd said.

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