Ohio Investigators Solve 1982 Cold Case Murder of Eight-Year-Old Kelly Prosser After They Link DNA to Dead Killer

Eight-year-old Kelly Prosser and killer Harold Warren Jarrell

Nearly 40 years ago, eight-year-old Kelly Prosser left her elementary school in Columbus, Ohio. She never arrived home.

Two days later she was found dead in a cornfield in a case that puzzled the community and police for decades.

But on Friday, her family finally got an answer about who killed the child. Columbus police investigators who never gave up on the cold case matched a dead man’s DNA to the rape and murder of Kelly.

“Our family has spent many long years waiting for Kelly Ann’s murder to be solved,” according to a statement released by Kelly’s family after police announced the news. “But Kelly’s family is not unique. Those who have suffered the murder of their loved one knows how devastating waiting for answers can be. Nor are we the only family who has laid awake at night hoping and praying that their missing child would return home safely.”

Kelly Prosser was abducted while walking home from Indianola Elementary School on September 20, 1982. Her body was discovered in nearby Madison County two days later.

Authorities said she had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled.

On Friday afternoon during a press conference, police said DNA identifies now-deceased Harold Warren Jarrell as the man behind the killing. Jarrell passed away in 1996 at the age of 67 in Las Vegas.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Autumn Schoolman