Helene Pruszynski was kidnapped, raped and murdered on January 16, 1980, and her case went chilly for practically 40 years till DNA developments allowed regulation enforcement to establish and arrest James Clanton. On July 1, 2020, Clanton was sentenced to life in jail for her homicide. NBC’s Dateline explores the homicide of 21-year-old Pruszynski and the multi-decade search by authorities and Pruszynski’s household to search out her killer.
At the sentencing listening to, Pruszynski’s sister Janet Johnson described her sister as pleasant, clever and type. “It by no means acquired any simpler,” Johnson mentioned. “It was as if somebody had reached in and torn our hearts out,” she defined how the many years of not figuring out who was answerable for her sister’s dying had affected the household.
Pruszynski Was Kidnapped as She Walked Home From a Bus Stop in Denver & Her Body Was Found the Next Day
Pruszynski had simply moved to Colorado from Massachusetts a couple of weeks earlier than she died. The younger girl was excited about journalism and was staying with family, taking the bus to and from work daily. The bus cease was just a few blocks away from her residence, however on January 16, 1980, she by no means made it residence from work, the Denver Post reported.
Pruszynski’s buddy and housemate, Kitsey Snow, spoke at Clanton’s sentencing listening to 40 years later and skim her journal entries from that night time, transcribed by the Denver Post. At 11 p.m., she’d written about how fearful she and the household had been: “This has been the longest and worst day of my life. I’m writing as a result of I do not know what else to do… we waited for Helene to come back residence, and waited.” Two hours later, she added, “Still nothing… Will this night time ever finish?”
At 3 a.m., she wrote, “We try to resolve when to name her mother and pa… We know one thing may be very incorrect. I believe we should always name them. If it was my daughter, I’d need to know.” The day after she went lacking, Kruszynski’s physique was present in a area. The promising 21-year-old intern had been stabbed 9 instances within the again, the Post wrote.
The Case Was Cold Until 2017 When Detectives Used DNA From the Crime Scene to Search (*40*) Websites
Pruszynski’s household would not have any solutions till many years later. In 2017, detectives used DNA collected from the crime scene to go looking family tree web sites for a suspect or family of a suspect. They ultimately narrowed outcomes all the way down to James Curtis Clanton, beforehand generally known as Curtis Allen White, a truck driver who was dwelling in Florida the place he’d modified his title two years after Pruszynski’s homicide, 9News reported. Investigators collected his DNA from a beer glass and located that it matched the crime scene DNA. Clanton was arrested in December 2019 and pleaded responsible to first-degree homicide in February 2020, in keeping with CBS Boston.
Before Pruszynski’s homicide, Clanton had served about 4 years in an Arkansas jail for rape and was out on parole. He had been given permission to reside with a former counselor within the Denver suburb the place Pruszynski was ultimately killed, the outlet reported.
On Wednesday, July 1, the 63-year-old Clanton was sentenced to life in jail with the potential for parole. Although he was accused of raping Pruszynski, Clanton was not charged with sexual assault on account of an expired statute of limitations, Wicked Local reported.
DNA & (*40*) are unbelievable in crime combating, but it surely nonetheless takes devoted Detectives to convey all of it collectively. Very pleased with the @dcsheriff workers who introduced a 40-year homicide thriller full circle in just some weeks. Truly superb! #JusticeForHelene pic.twitter.com/RUHgKa11WK
— Chief Steve Johnson (@sjohnsondcso) December 16, 2019