After a cold case from 1984 reopened, Kevin Charles Brown commits suicide after the investigation firmly links him to the gruesome murder of a 14-year-old girl. Ironically, Brown was a veteran crime lab worker for the San Diego Police Department. As police were preparing to arrest him, he hanged himself.
San Diego Police Department Lt. Paul Rorrison tells People in an Oct. 30 report that Brown knew he was being investigated. He said “unfortunately, he committed suicide before we could take him into custody.”
Brown died at the age of 62. He was a retired criminalist with the police department.
When a “DNA hit” from a piece of evidence emerged from the 1984 killing, it linked Brown to the disturbing murder of Claire Hough. The girl had been beaten, strangled and stabbed, with one of her breasts cut off. Her body was left under a bridge after the sickening death.
The DNA evidence reopened the cold case in 2012. It wasn’t just Brown’s DNA on the evidence; ex-con, Ronald Clyde Tatro, 67, was connected to the death as well. He died in a 2011 boating accident and had been convicted of several sexual assaults before.
Brown came under scrutiny for the crime back in January. It was then when detectives had a search warrant and confiscated his computers and other items belonging to him.
Police claim the DNA sample linking to Brown to the 1984 wasn’t an oversight on their department’s part. Brown worked 20 years at the there before he retired in 2002.
Rorrison is adamant that there’s “no basis for cross-contamination or anything of that sort” because Brown “didn’t work with any of the evidence in this case.”
Kevin Charles Brown committed suicide when he felt pushed into a corner, his wife believes. She thinks the stress he was under being a wrongful suspect is what drove him to the edge. She describes him as being “just a nice, gentle, quiet man and they pushed him over the edge.” She adds that being viewed as a murderer “took its toll” on him when died on Oct. 21.
Brown believes his DNA “somehow” got onto evidence from the crime scene when he was working in the crime lab.
Police have no way of explaining how Brown may have known Tatro since their DNA was found on Hough’s body. Rorrison says “that’s one of our mysteries.”
CBS Local reports that the case is similar to the 1978 death of Barbara Nantais, 15. Her body was found in the same condition as Hough’s. Her body, too, was found in the same area as Hough’s with one breast mutilated. No other evidence links the two murders together, Rorrison says.
Since Kevin Charles Brown committed suicide, authorities will never know what he had to say about the cold case murder.