The nearly 30-year-old cold case killing of a teen girl in Florida has finally been solved, after investigators using new DNA technology were able to identify both the victim and killer, the Monroe County Sheriff's Department said. Sheriff Rick Ramsay announced Monday that the "Jane Doe" discovered on February 15, 1991, in a wooded area off U.S. 1 was Wanda Deann Kirkum, who was 18 and lived in Hornell, New York.
The case known as “Valentine Jane Doe Homicide” was cold for nearly three decades, but major crimes unit detective Vince Weiner partnered with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and used new DNA technology to solve the crime, Ramsay said.
Kirkum was seen by witnesses hitchhiking out of Key West on Feb. 14, 1991, the sheriff said. Kirkham was never officially reported missing to police.
Her body was found the next morning by a group of surfers. Authorities say she had been strangled and forensic examination showed she had also been beaten and sexually assaulted.
“I would like to personally thank Major Crimes Unit Detective Vince Weiner and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their efforts in solving this very serious and tragic crime,” Ramsay said. “This case is a testament and shining example of this agency’s commitment to solving crime, no matter how old the case and no matter the challenges.”
The sheriff said that Kirkum’s killer was identified as Robert Lynn Bradley, who was killed in a homicide in Texas in April 1992. Kirkum's parents are deceased.
DNA evidence was collected from the scene were Kirkum was discovered in 1991. Investigators did not find a match until they collected samples from Bradley's DNA in Tarrant County, Texas, where he was killed.
It is believed that Bradley lived in Miami in late November 1990, investigators said.