New push to solve 1985 Ovid cold case murder

Kristen O'Connell

State Police are pouring more resources into a cold case murder from 1985.

It comes 28 years after the murder of 20-year-old Kristin O'Connell. She was a a college student from Minnesota who came to the Finger Lakes town of Ovid to visit a friend. One night she went for a late night walk and never came back. Her body was found two days later.

Recently, the New York State Police have formed a task force to find Kristin O'Connell's killer. Six investigators are working on the case full time along with members of the Seneca County Sheriff's office, the Waterloo Police Department, the Seneca Falls Police Department and the Seneca County District Attorney's office.

"There's a tremendous amount of good suspects in the case and the overwhelming amount of work, the support of all these units, departments and investigators is paramount to solving this case," said State Police investigator Jeff Arnold.

At the Waterloo State Police barracks, an office is filled with photographs, interview transcripts and a map charting where witnesses last saw Kristin on the night she was murdered. More than 1700 leads have been generated in the case since 1985. One of the most intriguing ones is a tips call police received a week after the murder. In a recording, a man tells police they should look for a green Chevy on Main Street in Waterloo. (You can listen to the entire tips call the state police received in 1985 here. It is also embedded in a video on this page)

"If they listen to it and know that person, they're going to recognize that voice. It's a very recognizable voice - it's very unique," said Arnold. "We're looking to know who that caller was from back in 1985."

World renowned DNA experts Richard and Selma Eikelenboom are now going over original crime scene evidence from the case in their Netherlands lab. Arnold says they have made progress using state of the art "Touch DNA" technology that allows them to look for skin cells left behind on Kristin's clothes. The Eikelenbooms, the New York State Police Crime lab, - and the FBI lab are continuing to work on finding usable DNA from the original crime scene evidence.

Kristin's mother, Phyllis O'Connell, has worked tirelessly to find justice in her daughter's case. Phyllis O'Connell says she is grateful for all the police working on solving Kristin's murder and especially for State Police Major Mark Koss who put the task force together.

"I realize now there are caring people up there that want to get this solved," said O'Connell. "I will always be an advocate to get this resolved - I am not going to walk away - ever."

Arnold believes there are still people in the Finger Lakes area who have information about Kristin's death. He hopes they will come forward and talk with police about what they know.

If you have any information, you can contact the State Police Waterloo Office at (315) 539-9238