LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — More than 30 years after her brutal murder, the family of Stephanie Isaacson was finally given closure thanks to a generous donation that helped a Texas lab crack the local cold case.
For the 14-year-old, June 1, 1989, was the day the world stopped turning; she was walking to Eldorado High School when she was sexually assaulted and murdered.
32 years later, her case stayed cold, but two months ago, her family got the answers they so desperately searched for when DNA linked Darren Marchand to her death.
The result was all made possible, thanks to a generous donation by Justin Woo, the founder of ‘Vegas Helps.’
“We were shocked and very happy,” Woo told 8 News Now. “That we could help provide some closure to the family.”
Thanks to the money Woo provided, Las Vegas investigators were able to send evidence to Othram Inc., a forensic laboratory in Texas.
“The family never forgets, they want to know what happened to their loved one,” Othram CEO David Mittelman said of the Isaacson case and any other cold crime. ‘And I think there is a real urgency.”
Mittelman said Marchand was identified with one-of-a-kind genetic genealogy testing. Mittelman and Woo hope it can be used to solve countless other crimes.
“What really excited us about this case, is that it gives hope to so many other cases,” Mittelman explained. “That may have been designated as not good enough DNA, not enough DNA.”
They believe it can bring justice to other families, who have also waited longer than many can imagine.
“It’s a really good feeling to be able to help a family,” Woo concluded of the Isaacsons. “I can’t imagine what they have gone through all this time.”
Darren Marchand died by suicide in 1995. Records show he was arrested in 1986 as a suspect in the murder of 24-year-old Nanette Vandenburg, but that case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
For more information on Othram Laboratories, visit this website https://othram.com.