Traci Rosenbaum / USA Today Network via Reuters Co.
It was only three days since 1956 when three boys from Montana, on a walk on an ordinary January day, made a shocking discovery they weren’t likely to ever forget.
During a walk near the Sun River, they found 18-year-old Lloyd Duan Bogle, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. They found him lying on the ground near his car, with someone using his belt to tie his hands behind his back, according to a report from Great Falls Tribune. The next day brought another disturbing discovery: A county road worker found the body of 16-year-old Patricia Kalitzky in North Great Falls, the newspaper reported. She was shot in the head, just as Bogle had, but she was also sexually assaulted.
The murders were not solved until this week when investigators announced that they had deciphered what they believed to be the oldest case solved using DNA and forensic genealogy.
The victims were discovered in the lovers lane
Bogle, a pilot who hails from Texas, and Kalitzky, a junior at Great Falls High School, had fallen in love with each other and were considering marriage, platform reports. The place where they are believed to have been killed was known as “Lovers’ Passage,” according to A Snapshot From a local newspaper published on a commemorative page.
But their love story was brutally cut short by the actions of an unidentified killer for more than 60 years. And it wasn’t for lack of trying: early in the case, investigators followed numerous leads, but none of them succeeded. The case eventually turned cold.
For decades, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office has continued to work on it, with many investigators trying to make headway over the years. One of those investigators was Det. Sgt. John Kadner, who was assigned to the case in 2012 — his first cold case, said during an interview with NPR. He was immediately met with the daunting task of digitizing the vast case file, an endeavor that took months.
He continued to work on the Kalitzke/Bogle case even while dealing with the newer cases that were landing on his desk all the time, but had a feeling that more was needed to get to the bottom of what had happened to the couple, all those decades ago.
“My first impression was that the only way we’re going to solve this is through the use of DNA,” Kadner said.
Investigators turned to a new forensic investigation
Fortunately, Kadner had something to work with. During Kalitzky’s autopsy in 1956, investigators took a vaginal swab, which was preserved on a microscope slide in the ensuing years, according to Great Falls Tribune Report. Phil Mattison, a now retired detective in the mayor’s office, sent that sample to a local lab for testing in 2001, and the team there identified sperm that didn’t belong to Bogle, her boyfriend, the paper reported.
Armed with this knowledge, in 2019 Kadner sought Bode Technology’s help. After he used the forensic genealogy of Finally catch the Golden State Killer In the year prior, law enforcement officials have become increasingly aware that this technology can be used to solve cold cases — even decades-old cases like Kalitzky and Bogle.
With the help of partner labs, forensic genealogists are able to use the preserved samples to create an offender DNA profile and then use that profile to search public databases for any potential matches. In most cases, these profiles can end up in distant relatives of the offender – for example, a second or third cousin. By searching public records (such as death certificates and newspaper extracts), forensic genealogists are able to build a family tree that can point them directly to the suspect, even if that suspect has not submitted their DNA to any public database.
In this case, Bode Technology executive Andrew Singer told NPR, “What they’re going to do is have our genealogists independently build a family tree from that cousin profile.” He called it “the inverted family tree… We’re basically stepping back. We start with a distant relative and try to go back toward the unknown sample.”
It worked: a DNA test led investigators to a man named Kenneth Gould. Before moving to Missouri in 1967, Gould had lived with his wife and children in the Great Falls area around the time of the murders, according to platform.
“It was an amazing feeling because for the first time in 65 years we had a direction and a place to do the investigation,” Kadner told NPR. “Because it was all theories up to that point…we finally had a match and we had a name. That changed the whole dynamic of the issue.”
The investigators’ goal is a safer world
But there was one big problem: Gould died in 2007 and his remains were cremated, according to platform. The only way to prove his guilt or innocence was to test the DNA of his remaining relatives.
The investigators had an uncomfortable task: letting the family of a dead man know that, despite the fact that he had not previously been identified as a person of interest, he was now the prime suspect in double murder and rape.
Kadner said authorities traveled to Missouri, where they spoke with Gould’s children and told them about the Kalitzky/Bogle case, eventually identifying their father as a suspect. They asked for the family’s help in establishing or denying Gould the man responsible and the family complied.
Test results said Gould was the man. With the killer finally identified, Kadner was able to reach relatives of surviving victims and accomplish the seal that took more than 60 years to purchase. It was a bittersweet revelation: They were grateful for the answers, but for many of the family’s seniors, it was difficult to reopen those wounds.
“They are excited, but at the same time, it brought back so many memories,” Kadner said.
Now, the sheriff’s office is considering setting up a cold case task force, as other law enforcement agencies have done. The hope is that they can provide more families with the answers they deserve and, in many cases, have spent years waiting for.
“If there’s a new technology and we can solve something, we want to keep working on it, because ultimately we’re trying to do it for the family,” he said. “Give them some closure.”
The Kalitzky/Bogle case is one of the oldest criminal cases to have been resolved using forensic genealogy, and authorities hope they can use this ever-evolving technology to solve cold cases dating back even further back — despite new legislation It can complicate things.
Even without this complexity, Singer explained to NPR, the success rate depends largely on how well the evidence for any given case has been preserved over the years. However, he hopes it can be used to help law enforcement improve public safety and “[prevent] Tomorrow’s victim.
“It’s a really cool technology and it’s going to solve a lot of cold cases,” Singer said.