Could a serial killer be responsible for a Circleville elementary teacher's murder?

Nearly 40 years after her death, Circleville police are still investigating Vicki Koch’s murder. (WBNS)

A popular elementary school teacher vanished, with no clues about where she could have disappeared. Weeks later, her body was found.

Now, nearly 40 years later, police are still looking for her killer, bringing up the question — could a serial killer be the culprit?

"I was driving down this road and right down there — I could almost show you the spot — I saw trash, I thought,” said Charles Cameron, who farms land nearby.

Advertisement - Story continues below

It wasn't trash. A popular school teacher, Vicki Koch, who missing for weeks, was found dead.

“We always wish people get caught,” said Jim Slagla.

Koch’s body was found on Slagla's land. He’s the one who called 911 all those years ago.

Growing up as the only girl with two brothers, Randy Koch says his sister, Vicki, was a talented musician.

“I wasn't a band person, my sister was. She was four years younger than me. She really, really was an excellent flutist,” Randy said.

She followed in the steps of many family members and became a teacher, taking her first job at Jackson Elementary School in Circleville. In August 1980, days before school started, Vicki and friends decided to go to a concert in Ross County.

“By all accounts, the event went well, no problems. No one following them around, giving them a problem,” said Circleville Deputy Chief Bob Chapman.

That was the last time anyone heard from Vicki. A few days later, she was supposed to go up to Sandusky to spend a long weekend with family.

“By noon, she hadn't arrived and we started to become concerned,” Chapman said.

That's when family members called the Circleville Police Department to check her apartment.

“There was no signs of any violence or anything. No signs of forced entry into the apartment, other than the puzzling fact that Vicki was not there” Chapman said.

Her car was soon found a half mile from her apartment, unlocked. Family members traveled to Circleville to search.

“I remember just getting restless walking down the rural roads, looking into the first couple of rows of cornfields hoping I'd find something, hoping I wouldn't find anything. It was one of those situations,” Randy said.

About a month after Vicki disappeared, a township worker was mowing the ditch, when he noticed something out in the field. That's when Vicki's body was discovered.

“I came down, saw the body, and called the sheriff,” Slagla said.

Vicki's body was found in Slagla's field, 33 miles away from her apartment. She was wearing the same clothes from the concert.

“That's actually always been one of the questions between talking to the senior officers that had worked on this case. That's always been their question of why that far away? Why that location?” Chapman said.

That's still a question that haunts family and police 39 years later. Recently, police have sent evidence back to the bureau of criminal investigation to be tested.

"What I'm hoping is there's a DNA solution that could actually lead me to a viable witness, another contact, another person of interest?” Chapman said.

He says a known serial killer was in the area around the time Vicki disappeared.

“He fits the character that would commit such a crime, but I have no evidence to say he's the guy,” Chapman said.

Until Chapman gets that evidence, he will continue to keep Vicki's picture hanging in his office as motivation to stay focused to find her killer.

“That way, she can remind me to remind everyone out there to not forget her,” Chapman said.

Which gives family hope they can finally close the book on the mystery.

“We're talking about for our family members, a book that we had different chapters we got to enjoy her, how we went through an ordeal of her disappearing, then being found, then the last 39 years. It's like, ok, we're at the last chapter, but the pages are blank. Just to be able to read those last pages, close the book, shut it would mean a lot to everyone,” Randy said.

Chapman says he is working on tracking down Vicki's car to see if he can retest it to find any key DNA that may still be in the vehicle.