‘Justice Has Been Done’: Genetic Genealogy Solves Soldier's 1987 Murder

A Colorado jury has found former Fort Carson soldier Michael Whyte guilty of strangling fellow servicemember Darlene Krashoc to death.

Darlene Krashoc [via Colorado Springs Police Department]

Darlene Krashoc [via Colorado Springs Police Department]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

A former soldier who served at Fort Carson for almost two decades has been convicted of murdering another servicemember who was last seen alive leaving a bar in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on the evening of March 16, 1987.

Over 30 years later, on June 24, 2021, a jury took just hours to find Michael Whyte, 60, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the strangulation death of 20-year-old Spc. Darlene Krashoc. Citing court evidence, news station KRDO reported the victim had been sexually assaulted and her body dumped behind a Korean restaurant less than a mile from the bar.

In 2016, a technique using DNA recovered at the crime scene allowed investigators to create and distribute a composite sketch of what Krashoc’s killer may have looked like, however, the results didn’t drum up any viable leads.

Authorities cracked the case in 2019 by running DNA evidence through a genetic genealogy database and zeroing in on Whyte. They confirmed his DNA was a match with the forensic evidence using a fast-food cup he had discarded, and took him into custody in June of that year.

According to Army Times, Whyte served in the Army between October 1979 and April 1998 and attained the rank of Sgt. 1st Class.

“I’m so happy they kept the DNA after all these years, because back then it wasn’t as big of a deal,” the victim’s sister, Rhonda Lilly, told the outlet. “The Colorado Springs PD and Army CID never forgot about her.”

“We’ll always miss her,” Krashoc’s father told KRDO. “We’ll always remember, but I think it will be easier to go on now from day to day knowing that her justice has been done.”

Whyte, who insisted at sentencing he did not kill Krashoc, now faces life in prison without parole for the crime.

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