Area detectives solve 30 year old cold case, as DNA links serial killer to at least 4 murders

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:43 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 1:13 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - St. Louis area detectives have cracked a cold case dating back to the early 1990s, after a recent DNA discovery led them to the alleged killer.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell announced charges against Gary Muehlberg, 73, in connection with the deaths of four women between March 1990 and February 1991. Police confirmed the identities of the women to be Robyn Mihan, 18, Sandy Little, 21, Brenda Jean Pruitt, 27, and Donna Reitmeyer, 40.

On Oct. 4, 1990, Pruitt’s body was found stuffed in a trash can in the 12400 block of Basston Drive in Maryland Heights near Interstate 270 and Page Avenue. Because the body was badly decomposed, it took detectives several months to identify it as Pruitt. The Major Case of Greater St. Louis later linked her murder to Mihan, whose body was discovered between two mattresses in Lincoln County in 1990, near Silex, Missouri. Police said there were signs of strangulation along with defensive wounds on Mihan.

In February of 1991, a third body was discovered in O’Fallon, Missouri, later identified as Sandy Little, 21.

Sandra Little, Brenda Pruitt & Robyn Mihan.
Sandra Little, Brenda Pruitt & Robyn Mihan.(Family)

At the time, police indicated all three women were working as prostitutes.

According to online court documents, Muehlberg is currently serving a life sentence at Potosi Correctional Center for first-degree murder and armed criminal action. In March of 1993, he was arrested in southern Illinois in connection with the murder of Kenneth “Doc” Atchison, 57. Atchison’s body was found in Muehlberg’s Bel-Ridge basement in a makeshift coffin. He had been missing for several weeks after leaving home with $6,000 cash to buy a car from Muehlberg.

Muehlberg was subsequently convicted of Atchison’s death.

While speaking to investigators, Muehlberg confessed to the murders of the three women and another woman, Donna Reitmeyer, killed in 1990. St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell said a fourth murder charge will be added against the 73-year-old man.

“It should be noted that advances in DNA technology have allowed investigators to do types of analysis that could not be done 20 or 30 years ago. Our detectives never gave up on this case and always maintained hope that it would be solved one day.,” a spokesperson from the Maryland Heights Police Department said.