DNA expert: Lawless case ready for trial, family wants answers

Lawless family wants answers in cold case
Published: Oct. 3, 2017 at 12:23 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 3, 2017 at 4:34 PM CDT
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BENTON, MO (KFVS) - Did DNA experts working a Scott County, Missouri cold case narrow down the list of suspects?

Mischelle Lawless' family said they deserve answers.

The 25th anniversary of the Lawless case is coming up in November.

Some members of her immediate family believe authorities have enough now to move forward, but for some reason they're not.

"She was a genuine person, didn't have to worry about what she thought," said Jason Lawless.

Even after almost 25 years, the emotions are still raw.

Jason Lawless reflects back on the sister he lost. He admitted they rarely got along, but they were teenagers.

He loved her of course, but in a younger brother kind of way.

He would do just about anything to see her again, and will not rest until Mischelle's killer, or killers get what they deserve.

Jason was just 15 years old when Mischelle was murdered in 1992.

He answered the door the night the coroner and sheriff showed up at his family's home.

"I knew it was bad, but you never think it's that bad," said Jason Lawless.

Nineteen-year-old Mischelle was found dead inside her car on an exit ramp outside of Benton. She was shot multiple times, and beaten.

Authorities sent the wrong person to prison for the crime.

Joshua Kezer was convicted in 1994.

However, Kezer was released and declared an innocent man in 2009 after then Sheriff, Rick Walter re-opened the case.

Crystal Britt asked Jason Lawless, "Was there ever peace when he was locked away?" Lawless responded, "No, no."

More than two decades later, the family still doesn't have peace.

They're tired of rumors, and how afraid everyone seems to be of what really happened to Mischelle.

"It's time to stop being scared," said Jason Lawless.

Several years ago, Scott County authorities brought in Touch DNA experts Richard and Selma Eikelenboom.

Heartland News recently checked in with them about the case.

Richard Eikelenboom told us, the case was ready for trial.

That was a surprise to us, which is what prompted us asking more questions.

The Eikelenboom's have a lab in the Netherlands.

They are known around the world for their work, and have been brought in on high-profile cases, such as the Casey Anthony case and the Jon Benet Ramsey case.

Some have questioned the reliability of the Eiklenboom's technique.

However, they say the evidence is pretty simple. Either the DNA is there, or it isn't.

We reached them via the internet for a video interview.

"We did some experiments [in the Lawless case] about how we could explain the bloodstain evidence we saw on her clothing and the crime scene," said Richard.

He saic he sent his findings to the prosecutor in January of 2016.

We went to Scott County Prosecuting Attorney, Paul Boyd's office.

We knew getting information might be difficult considering Boyd is currently serving our country in Afghanistan.

No one at the office could talk to us about the case, but we were referred to an e-mail address for Mr. Boyd.

He did respond by e-mail, confirming a grand jury was called in the Lawless case in early 2017.

Boyd said, "The members of the jury heard and were presented with the available evidence at that time. The Grand Jury was released without an indictment for any person.The investigation continues today through the Scott County Sheriff's office and the Scott County Prosecutor's office. The State of Missouri is still seeking to bring the individual(s) responsible to justice for this heinous crime."

What we don't know is whether the Touch DNA was part of that evidence.

But we do know, Richard Eikelenboom was never asked to testify.

"We were waiting, but never got a call," said Eikelenboom.

Prosecutor Paul Boyd did not answer our questions about the Eikelenboom's test results.

Jason Lawless would like to know why his sister's case seems to be, once again, at a standstill.

"Everybody is scared to death to make a move, whether that's because of who is involved, who is indicated in the case," said Jason Lawless. "Whether that's the reason, whether it's political, what the prosecutor's issue is with this case, why he won't go forward with it." These are all really good questions we need answers to, we deserve answers to," said Lawless.

He said he would just like to be in the loop and given the assurance that nothing else gets in the way of truth and justice.

"It's hurt my family enough," said Lawless.

Wes Drury is now the new sheriff in Scott County.

He didn't want to talk about the case on camera, but did tell Heartland News this does remain an open investigation.

Drury said his department has a team of investigators working on it.

He asked if anyone has information pertaining to the death of Mischelle Lawless to contact the Scott County Sheriff's Office at 573-545-3525.

The Lawless family encourages the same.

They hope that maybe now, since so many years have passed, someone may no longer be afraid to tell the truth.

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