Las Vegas Police: Cold Case 1979 Murder Of Western High School Student Solved
By CAITLIN LILLY
LAS VEGAS (KVVU) – The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department announced Monday that a 1979 homicide had been solved thanks to a donation from a local philanthropist.
According to LVMPD Lt. Ray Spencer, the closed case was that of Kim Bryant, a 16-year-old student at Western High School who was kidnapped, raped and murdered.
Lt. Spencer says Bryant’s mother reported her missing after she never came home from school.
Kim Bryant’s murder was solved after Las Vegas philanthropist Justin Woo donated funds to help investigators send evidence of the case to a Texas lab, Lt Spencer said.
The lab called Othram provides advanced DNA testing.
“Can unlock DNA clues from DNA traces or older or degraded evidence.” Any kind of forensic evidence, and we’re the only lab in the US or Canada that’s built just for that, âsaid Kristen Mittleman, Director of Business Development at Othram.
As recently as 2021, the LVMPD laboratory analyzed the limited DNA of the case without success. However, things changed when they got the opportunity to bring the DNA to Othram’s lab.
The evidence tied 19-year-old Johnny Blake Peterson as the suspect in Bryant’s death, police said.
According to Lt. Spencer, Peterson also attended Western High School at one point.
According to Lieutenant Spencer, no arrests will be made in this case, Peterson having died in 1993.
It was announced earlier this year that philanthropist Justin Woo had donated funds that helped the department solve the cold case of 32-year-old Stephanie Isaacson.
The lab constructed a genetic profile of the killer from just 15 human cells. It is the smallest amount of DNA ever recorded in a criminal case, according to Othram.
âWe don’t want to do this on a case-by-case basis. We want to use this technology to clear entire backlogs and give answers to multiple families, âMittleman said.
Woo provided around $ 5,000 to fund each case and said he brought together several other people from the Las Vegas community to help pay for seven more tests to be sent to the Texas lab.
âI hope we can even have a place where we collectively fund from the local community to get enough money to resolve other cases in the future,â Woo said.
Othram crowdfunds to provide the advanced DNA testing to help resolve many of the hundreds of cases they have helped.
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