Police Announce Arrest in Cold Case

Timothy Krajcir
Timothy Krajcir

Police Announce Arrest in Cold Case
By: Carly O'Keefe & Associated Press

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Carbondale Police investigators announced an arrest made in a 25-year-old murder of an SIU student Friday.
They've arrested 62-year-old Timothy Krajcir in the 1982 strangling death of Deborah Sheppard.  On April 8, 1982 Sheppard, then 23, was found in her Carbondale apartment naked with the door ajar and the telephone line severed.  Sheppard was a senior marketing major from Olympia Fields when her naked body was found on the floor of her apartment in Carbondale.
Police and the Jackson County Coroner initially did not suspect foul play.  Her family did not believe a 23-year-old girl died of natural causes under such suspicious circumstances.  The family had her body flown to Chicago to undergo an autopsy by the Cook County Medical Examiner.  He found she had been beaten on the head and strangled.
The break in the 25-year-old case when Carbondale police checked a piece of evidence collected back in 1982 to the Illinois state police crime lab.  The evidence was analyzed for DNA and a match was found in the state police DNA database. 
After 25 years, there was a solid suspect. Krajcir's been an inmate in the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Ina since 1985 and is being held as a sexually dangerous person.  Officers interviewed Kritcher in prison and police say his statements plus the DNA gave officers enough evidence to finally make an arrest.
On the Southern Illinois University campus a student footbridge stands as a memorial to Susan Schumake.  She was a 21-year-old SIU student found raped and strangled near where the bridge now stands on August 17, 1981.  Her case went unsolved for more than 20 years, but due to DNA technology her killer was finally brought to justice in March 2006.
The murders of the two SIU students, both from Chicago suburbs, took place only eight months apart, but took decades to solve.