Investigators: New DNA in 20-year-old Kansas double murder

Posted at 5:29 PM, September 6, 2022 and last updated 7:02 PM, July 5, 2023

GREAT BEND, Kan. (AP) — Investigators announced Tuesday that they have collected new DNA evidence they hope will lead to a break in the killing of two Kansas women at a bakery 20 years ago.

A delivery driver found the bodies of 24-year-old Mandi Alexander and 79-year-old Mary Drake the evening of Sept. 4, 2002, at a Dolly Madison Bakery outlet in Great Bend, Kansas.

L to R: Mandi Alexander and 79-year-old Mary Drake. (Great Bend Police Dept.)

Drake was a customer, and Alexander had begun working as a clerk the week she was killed.

Investigators said they were killed with a sharp object, but the murder weapon was never found. Although money was missing from the bakery’s cash drawer, authorities aren’t sure if robbery was the motive for the crimes.

A male’s DNA was found in a sample taken from one of the victims, Cory Latham, special agent for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said in a news conference. He did not say which woman the DNA was taken from.

Latham said in the last year, KBI agents and forensic scientists reviewed all the evidence collected in the case, focusing on technology that has advanced beyond what was available in 2002.

Investigators did not find enough DNA to enter it into a national database of criminal offenders. However, investigators could compare it to a sample of someone’s DNA if they were to find a suspect.

“So while useful, it doesn’t help answer the question as to who that person is today. But it’s promising and we hope it will help us in the future,” Latham said.

He said Great Bend police, Barton County sheriff’s deputies and KBI agents collected numerous DNA samples in the past and held Tuesday’s news conference to encourage someone who might have even the slightest detail relevant to the case to come forward.

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