Crime podcast examines unsolved 1985 murder of Burnsville college student in New York state

The 1985 slaying of a 20-year-old Burnsville college student who was killed walking home from a party in New York state is the subject of a podcast released this month, according to producers.

An episode of “Method and Madness,” a true-crime podcast, will focus on the death of Kristin O’Connell, who was slain in Ovid, N.Y., while visiting a friend. She vanished after leaving a party to go for a walk. Her nude body was found two days later in a cornfield a quarter mile from the friend’s home. Her throat was slashed.

The investigation into O’Connell’s killing has made headlines after crime investigators blamed the New York Health Department for blocking efforts to use a sophisticated DNA technique to try to solve the murder.

State police said they were promised funding from the county to hire a Dutch team who specialize in DNA techniques to solve cold-case homicides, but that state health officials blocked the test, saying the team wasn’t certified in New York.

A petition has been created asking that an outside lab test the DNA from the case. As of last weekend, more than 3,900 people had signed it.

State police Investigator Jeffrey T. Arnold said detectives believe two males ages 16 to 19, who were seen walking behind O’Connell that night, killed the young woman.

“We feel this is our last, best effort to solve this case,” Seneca County District Attorney Richard Swinehart said at the time.

Swinehart said the testing, along with an audiotape of an anonymous call to state police a week after the killing, give investigators a real chance to crack the case.

Arnold said the call directed state police to look for a green Chevrolet parked on Main Street in Waterloo, N.Y. The car was never found, he said, but investigators hope to locate the caller, who spoke with a slight accent.

The caller told state police he was leaving town and that he had told the killer not to commit the crime.

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