Murder Case Closed After Four Decades
The City of Upper Arlington’s Police Chief, Steve Farmer, has announced that the Police Division has resolved and closed a decades-old cold case homicide with the help of DNA technology.
The body of the eight-year-old victim, Asenath Dukat, was discovered on June 3, 1980 in a creek bed located on the grounds of First Community Village. Chief Farmer stated that this crime had an impact on the community that cannot be overstated, and that impact continues to this day. Numerous officers from the division investigated countless leads over the years, leading to this ultimate finding.
Asenath Dukat’s killer has been identified as Brent L. Strutner, who killed himself in Columbus in June of 1984, at the age of 24. Strutner was a 1979 graduate of Upper Arlington High School and was living near the City of Upper Arlington at the time of the incident.
After consulting with numerous police laboratories and other experts in the field in the years following this homicide, the Police Division sent biological material collected during the victim’s autopsy to BCI&I for analysis, in an effort to identify a suspect via improving DNA analysis techniques. In early 2008, the division received notice that a profile had been recovered, and matched DNA from Strutner. In an attempt to determine if there was any possibility that another individual had also participated in this crime in complicity with Strutner, the division then re-examined every piece of evidence collected in the case and resubmitted items for further analysis utilizing the most up-to-date forensic methods available. No results were obtained from any other piece of evidence and there is no additional physical evidence that could connect another individual to the crime.
Around the time of Asenath’s murder, other jurisdictions, including Columbus and the Ohio State University, were experiencing a variety of attacks on young females, including an attempt to abduct a young girl on Henderson Road only months after Asenath’s murder by one of Strutner’s known associates, Robert “Chris” Winchester. Winchester was found guilty and served prison time for that crime; however, the Police Division was unable to discover sufficient evidence to also link him to the murder of Asenath.
In addition to the forensic examinations that were being performed over the course of this investigation, numerous additional interviews and re-interviews with former officers and other persons of interest were conducted. None of these efforts, however, has resulted in the discovery of any additional evidence related to the case. In light of this, the division is confident that all investigative leads have been exhausted.
Reflecting on the case, Chief Farmer stated: “Investigators for the Upper Arlington Police Division have tirelessly pursued justice for the Dukat Family for more than four decades. I am the sixth chief to oversee these efforts and appreciate the hard work that has been put into this case through the years. This tragic death shook our community in 1980 and the reverberations continue to this day. On June 3, 1980, the community came together in their pain and their commitment to supporting each other. Upper Arlington is known as a community with a strong bond and it has been demonstrated in many ways, none greater than during this dark hour. Our hearts continue to go out to the Dukat Family, and we wish them peace as they continue their healing.”
Contact: Officer Bryan McKean
[email protected] | 614-583-5197