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A trucker killed ladies in six states. Investigators say they’ve recognized his final sufferer | CNN



Lengthy-haul trucker Keith Hunter Jesperson killed at the very least eight ladies throughout the US within the Nineties and despatched authorities confession letters signed with smiley faces. However the id of his final recognized sufferer remained a thriller for 3 a long time.

Florida authorities this week recognized her as Suzanne Kjellenberg, who was 34 when she was killed in Jesperson’s cross-country homicide rampage.

Landscapers discovered her stays alongside Interstate 10 in September 1994, mentioned Sheriff Eric Aden of Okaloosa County in Florida.

Jesperson, dubbed the “Comfortable Face Killer” for his letters, had confessed to killing a girl named “Susan” or “Suzette” after his arrest on the time, however her id was unknown for many years, Aden mentioned.

Of the eight ladies he admitted to killing, she was the one unidentified individual till now, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Workplace informed CNN.

Jesperson bought the nickname “Comfortable Face Killer” after he despatched confessions to journalists and police departments across the nation to achieve notoriety.

His victims spanned six states: California, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington and Florida. He was arrested within the mid-Nineties and is serving seven life sentences on the Oregon State Penitentiary, Aden mentioned.

In a latest jail interview, he informed investigators how he met Kjellenberg at a truck cease close to Tampa and so they traveled collectively to a relaxation space. He parked subsequent to a safety guard and approached the sufferer as she slept within the truck’s mattress, Aden mentioned in a information convention earlier this week.

He informed investigators she started screaming and wouldn’t cease. He was not allowed to have unauthorized riders in his truck, and didn’t wish to draw the safety guard’s consideration, so he put his fist towards her neck and positioned zip ties round her throat, Aden mentioned.

Investigators visited the killer on the jail final month on the anniversary of the day her physique was discovered 29 years in the past and coaxed him right into a confession, Aden mentioned.

“This interview was unannounced. He didn’t know they had been coming, however he absolutely cooperated. He talked brazenly concerning the homicide and the way it happened,” Aden mentioned. “He dumped her physique a short while later in Holt on the facet of the I-10.”

For years, investigators labored to seek out the id of the ultimate sufferer’s skeletal stays. On the time of her dying, Kjellenberg was a drifter and had no recognized job, Aden mentioned.

In 2007, a forensic artist accomplished a facial reconstruction to assist determine her, nevertheless it didn’t generate any leads, the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned. A yr later, it despatched the stays for extra anthropological examination. It additionally despatched specimens to the FBI lab for DNA evaluation and entry into the Nationwide Lacking and Unidentified Individuals System database.

A break within the case got here when the health worker’s workplace despatched samples to Othram, a Texas-based firm specializing in forensic genetic family tree. It created a genealogical profile to help within the sufferer’s identification.

“From the evaluation, they had been in a position to slim down a member of the family and a member of the family gave a pattern and it grew to become a 100% DNA hit,” Aden mentioned in the course of the information convention.

The forensic sequencing laboratory has supplied a number of regulation enforcement businesses with superior DNA testing and forensic-grade genome sequencing, resulting in main clues in chilly instances.

“Suzanne deserves a voice, and we’re that voice for her immediately,” Aden mentioned. He mentioned her household lives in Wisconsin and has requested privateness.

“Due to the tireless efforts of so many over so lengthy, the stays of Suzanne Kjellenberg, the ultimate unidentified sufferer of Jesperson’s cross-country homicide sprees, can lastly depart the health worker’s workplace, and return residence,” Aden mentioned.

Jesperson has been charged with one rely of murder in Florida.

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