30-year-old evidence re-tested in Portland stabbing death - KPTV - FOX 12

30-year-old evidence re-tested in Portland stabbing death

Posted: Updated:

A 21-year-old woman was found stabbed to death in her northeast Portland apartment in 1981.

Sixteen years after the murder, someone came forward with new information but police are still looking for the killer.

"It was right before Christmas."

Karen Thomas' sister remembers that holiday season well.  It was the last she spent with her older sister.

Thomas was the victim of a brutal murder: She was stabbed multiple times in late December 1981.

Thomas' sister said the young woman's life ended just as she was trying to make a fresh start.

"She was settling down in her life. She was in the process of moving back home and she still had a few things in her apartment, quite a few things in her apartment," said Thomas' sister, who did not want to be identified.

Cold case investigators said Thomas had been living in an apartment building in the 4900 block of Northeast Seventh Street. Her parents hadn't heard from her in two days, which was very unusual.

"I believe my mother said she'd dreamed what happened that Sunday night," Thomas' sister recalled during a recent interview with FOX 12.  "So early that Monday morning, my brother, second-to-oldest brother, went over to her apartment and found her."

Retired detective Mike Stahlman, who recently reviewed the 30-year-old unsolved murder, said there appeared to be no forced entry.

"They did find the door locked and they had to use a key, which they got from the landlord," Stahlman said.  "So, it appears she either let the person in or the person was with her when they went in. The door was not forced."

Investigators said Thomas, two nights before her body was discovered, was last seen with a couple leaving a nearby bar.

The motive for the killing remains unclear.

Sixteen years after the murder, someone contacted police with new information.

That information led detectives to a man named Johnny Moore, who became a person of interest but has since died. Police would still like to talk to anyone who Moore may have talked to about Thomas.

The Oregon State Police crime lab is also re-testing forensics found at the crime scene, an avenue cold case investigators are pursuing in many older cases.

"There was physical evidence, so this is a prime case for what we're doing here -- working with the physical evidence and having things re-tested," Stahlman said.

As for Thomas' sister, she tries to remember her as a free-spirited songbird, full of hope, but she admits it's no easy task.

"It's still devastating, even after all these years," she said.

If you have any information about this crime, you can leave a Crime Stoppers tip online at www.crimestoppersoforegon.com, text CRIMES (274637) and in the subject line put 823HELP, followed by your tip, or call 503-823-HELP (4357) and leave your tip information.

Visit www.tipsoft.com to download the Crime Stoppers app for the iPhone or Droid.

Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2018, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.