DNA solves 42-year-old cold case murder of Las Vegas teen Kim Bryant

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The cold case murder of a 16-year-old Las Vegas girl in 1979 has been solved through DNA.

Metro police held a news conference Monday to announce that DNA has solved the murder case of Kim Bryant more than four decades ago.

On Jan. 26, 1979, Bryant was reported missing when she didn’t return home from school. She had gone there to register for classes. The Western High school sophomore was last seen that morning near a Dairy Queen restaurant on Decatur Boulevard near U.S. 95. Her body was found on Feb. 20 in a desert area near Charleston Boulevard and Buffalo Drive.

Police determined Bryant was abducted, sexually assaulted and killed. Now, they’ve determined — through DNA testing — that the person responsible was 19-year-old Johnny Peterson. He died in 1993.

According to Metro, “his identification as the suspect serves as a reminder to the families of murder victims that the LVMPD will not stop investigating these crimes, no matter how much time has passed.”

The same Texas-based forensic sequencing lab, Othram Inc., that solved the Bryant case also solved another Las Vegas cold case earlier this year involving the 1989 murder of 14-year-old Stephanie Isaacson. The suspect in her case was Darren Marchand. He died by suicide in 1995. His DNA was matched to the Isaacson crime scene and one other murder scene.

The DNA testing done by Othram Inc. in both cases was made possible by a donation from Las Vegas resident Justin Woo who told police he wanted to help solve cold cases.

Justin Woo

According to Metro, anyone can donate to the Homicide Cold Case unit to help in the investigation of unsolved murders. You can donate at this link. Just be sure to designate the donation for the “Homicide Cold Case unit.”

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