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Killer identified 38 years after young girl goes missing on walk home

Killer identified 38 years after young girl goes missing on walk home
Posted at 6:49 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 18:52:27-04

The decades-old sexual assault and murder of a young girl has been solved, thanks to DNA and genealogy records.

In September 1982, 8-year-old Kelly Prosser was walking home from school in Columbus, Ohio. Prosser never made it home, and her body was found in a cornfield two days later after her raincoat was spotted.

The case went unsolved for decades.

DNA evidence from the items collected at the time was entered into CODIS in 2014. There were no hits.

Friday, Prosser’s killer was identified as Harold Warren Jarrell, with the help of DNA evidence and genealogical research. Jarrell is now deceased, living relatives helped officers confirm details about Jarrell’s involvement.

In 1977, Jarrell was charged with abducting a girl on the north side of Columbus, he was released in early 1982. Jarrell was never mentioned in Prosser’s case file.

Harold Warren Jarrell
Harold Warren Jarrell in a 1971 booking photo. Jarrell is now believed to be responsible for the 1982 assault and murder of 8-year-old Kelly Prosser.

At the press conference, they thanked the officers in 1982 who collected the evidence necessary to test for DNA decades later.

“All of these years of this case being open and numerous detectives working on it, it is satisfying to let the family know what happened to their little girl though it doesn’t bring her back. There are cases that stick with detectives forever and this is one of those for all of us,” said Det. Dana Croom, CPD Cold Case Unit in a police statement.

Detectives credit two methods that are new for the department in solving Prosser’s death; the department started a podcast to give cold cases new audiences and share details, and they utilized Advanced DNA to build the family tree of the person responsible for the murder. Officers said they would be using both to help solve more cold cases.