Friday, June 02, 2000

DNA tests fail to provide clues

Butler sheriff strives to solve old homicides

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Investigators are disappointed that one round of genetic tests yielded no clues in a reopened Butler County homicide that occurred more than 17 years ago.

        But they say they're not giving up on that case, and they're making progress in at least one of three other recently revived homicide probes.

        “It doesn't appear that DNA is going to be the avenue on Tammy King, but we haven't stopped on Tammy King,” Sheriff's Lt. Greg Blankenship said Thursday. “The DNA is just one avenue that we're working on. ... I don't consider any of these cases closed until they're solved.”

        Tammy King is one of four homicide victims whose cases the sheriff's office reopened in February, in hopes that new forensic technology might help solve them. Each is more than a decade old.

        Investigators had hoped that hairs found with Ms. King's body might be linked to her killer, but this week they learned the hairs belonged to the victim, Lt. Blankenship said. The Price Hill woman was 22 when her body was found in Reily Township in 1982.

        Victoria May Hincher, 24, was found dead in Ross Township in 1976; in 1977, the body of 18-year-old Nancy Ann Theobold was found in Butler County's Union Township.

        All three had been sexually assaulted before being strangled — similarities that made police suspect a serial killer might be responsible.

        The fourth case, believed to be unrelated, involved the 1985 slaying of Kermit Vencill, 41, of Springboro. He had been shot several times in the chest and head at the truck service business he co-owned in Middletown.

        Lt. Blankenship said detectives have located a person out of state “who may have some inside information” in Mr. Vencill's case.

        Anyone with information is asked to call 887-3031.


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