Sarah DeLeon was only 19 years old when she was murdered, and for 27 years, her family has not only had to live without her, but also wonder just who committed the atrocious crime.
In turn, imagine spending the last 27 years living with a murderer in your midst and having no idea.
Thanks to new DNA evidence, the 1989 homicide is finally solved. The culprit is 48-year-old real estate agent Carolyn J. Heckert of Smithville, Kansas. She has been arrested for allegedly killing DeLeon.
Sadly, the reason Heckert allegedly decided to take DeLeon's life is heartbreaking and senseless.
Heckert, seen above on the right, were both seeing the same man. DeLeon was found stabbed to death, with a head injury, on local train tracks.
DeLeon's car was found earlier in the morning, with the door open and her flashers on. There was no blood or evidence of a struggle by the car. She had left her boyfriend's house at 1 and was on her way home.
But the story gets even weirder...
The way Sarah was murdered is eerily similar to another unsolved murder in 1994 of Diana Ault, which took place in Independence, Missouri.
Heckert is now a suspect in that death as well.
Ault was shot, not stabbed like DeLeon, in front of her two children.
The Clay County Sheriff's Department think Heckert was dating Ault's husband and allegedly killed her out of jealousy.
While Heckert is not officially linked to Ault's death, they are investigating the pattern. Police are also gathering evidence for an 1987 abduction.
Heckert was taken into custody by the US Marshals Service in Smithville. She is being held in Clay County on a $1 million bond.
Thankfully, DeLeon's family may have a bit of closure after this news. DeLeon's mother Gail Elieson said of the news,
I'm elated. I didn't believe it until I saw her name and mugshot. That was fantastic.