Arrest made in 32-year-old murder

Michael Whyte
[Courtesy photo/Colorado Springs Police]

DNA evidence, persistence result in first-degree charges

A murder more than three decades old was solved and a 58-year-old man was behind bars Monday.

Colorado Springs Police announced late last week that on June 13, members of the Violent Offender Fugitive Task Force, department Cold Case Homicide Unit and US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) arrested Michael Whyte at his home in the 1500 block of East 131st Place in Thornton. He was charged with first-degree murder in the 32-year-old strangulation of Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc.

Whyte was taken to the Adams County Detention Facility, where he remained Monday afternoon on a no-bond warrant.  If convicted, he could face life in prison.

“There is a lot to be proud of today,” Colorado Springs Police Chief Vince Niski said in a statement. “The work done by these detectives has been nothing short of exceptional.

“Since 1987, CSPD Cold Case detectives, Violent Crimes detectives, and U.S. Army CID investigators have worked tirelessly to bring this investigation to a conclusion. Throughout these last 32 years, they never lost sight of what was most important: Finding answers for Ms. Krashoc’s family. We hope this arrest will provide those answers and some comfort.”

The case dates back to the early morning hours of March 17, 1987, when springs police officers on patrol in Southeast discovered Karshoc’s body behind the then-Korean Club Restaurant, 2710 S. Academy Blvd. Karshoc was an active duty soldier stationed at Fort Carson, according to a Springs police press release.

She had joined members of her unit the previous night at a club in the 1800 block of South Academy Boulevard for drinks and dancing, according to the press release. She was last seen leaving the club between midnight and 1 p.m. The evidence showed she was strangled and her body was moved to the restaurant where she was discovered.

After a thorough investigation that included crime scene examination, evidence collection and hundreds of interviews, the case went cold.

CSPD Chief Vince Niski.              [Courtesy Photo/Colorado Springs Police Department]

Cold, but never forgotten.

Since 1987, CSPD Cold Case detectives, Violent Crimes detectives, and U.S. Army CID investigators have worked tirelessly to bring this investigation to a conclusion. Throughout these last 32 years, they never lost sight of what was most important: Finding answers for Ms. Krashoc’s family. We hope this arrest will provide those answers and some comfort.

In 2004 and 2011, the investigation was reopened for laboratory evidence, according to the press release. Tests discovered unknown DNA with a male profile on several pieces of evidence.

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In 2016, the CID team, in connection with Springs police, submitted evidence to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory for additional DNA testing. They consulted with Parabon Nano Labs, a DNA technology company that specializes in phenotyping – a way of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence.

The tests included individual predictions of the suspect’s ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling and face shape. The result was an approximate composite of the would-be suspect at approximately 25 years old and at 50 to 55 years old. It was not, the press release emphasized, an exact replica of the suspect.

The composite was distributed to the public in 2017, and early this year, a genetic genealogy DNA analysis identified Whyte as the suspect in the case, according to the press release.

“Words cannot convey the satisfaction we are feeling from this arrest,” Maj. Gen David Glaser, the Provost Marshal General of the Army and Commanding General of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, said in a statement.  “I’m extremely proud of our special agents on this case. … They have worked tirelessly and shoulder-to-shoulder with the Colorado Springs Police Department and the quiet professionals from our U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory on this investigation.

“We sincerely hope that today’s announcement in some small way brings comfort to the family and friends of Spc. Darlene Krashoc.”

 

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