UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio — The Upper Arlington Police Department announced Thursday that a decades-old murder case of an 8-year-old girl has been resolved with the help of DNA technology.
The body of Asenath Dukat was discovered in a creek bed located at First Community Village on June 3, 1980.
Dukat’s killer has been identified as 24-year-old Brent Strutner, who killed himself in June 1984. Strutner was a 1979 graduate of Upper Arlington High School and was living near the city at the time of the incident.
In a news release, Police Chief Steve Farmer said this crime had an impact on the community that cannot be overstated and continues to this day.
“Investigators for the Upper Arlington Police Division have tirelessly pursued justice for the Dukat Family for more than four decades,” Chief Farmer said. “I am the sixth chief to oversee these efforts and appreciate the hard work that has been put into this case through the years. This tragic death shook our community in 1980 and the reverberations continue to this day.”
After consulting with numerous laboratories and other experts in the years following the homicide, the city says police sent biological material collected during Dukat’s autopsy to BCI&I for analysis.
In early 2008, police received notice that a profile had been recovered and matched DNA from Strutner.
The city says police re-examined every piece of evidence collected in the case and resubmitted items in an attempt to determine if there were any possibility that another individual had also been involved in Dukat’s death.
Utilizing the most up-to-date forensic methods available, the city says no results were found that could connect another person to the crime.
Around the time of Dukat’s murder, other jurisdictions – including Columbus and The Ohio State University – were experiencing a variety of attacks on young females.
The city says this included an attempt to abduct a young girl on Henderson Road only months after Dukat’s death by one of Strutner’s known associates, Robert “Chris” Winchester. He was found guilty and served time in prison.
Police say they were unable to discover evidence to link Winchester to the murder of Dukat.
In addition to the forensic examinations, the city said numerous additional interviews and re-interviews with former officers and other persons of interest were conducted but these efforts resulted in the discovery of no new evidence.
“On June 3, 1980, the community came together in their pain and their commitment to supporting each other,” Chief Farmer said. “Upper Arlington is known as a community with a strong bond and it has been demonstrated in many ways, none greater than during this dark hour. Our hearts continue to go out to the Dukat Family, and we wish them peace as they continue their healing.”