Man sentenced to life in 1987 murder of soldier after DNA evidence linked him to woman’s death
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Gray News) - A man will spend the rest of his life in prison without parole after being convicted of murdering a soldier in 1987.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command announced Michael Whyte was sentenced in June, more than 30 years after he killed 20-year-old Army Specialist Darlene Krashoc in Colorado Springs.
Investigators said police discovered Krashoc’s body behind a restaurant. She was previously out with members of her unit at a club. Krashoc died of strangulation.
Krashoc was stationed at Fort Carson and was assigned to the 73rd Maintenance Company.
Army investigators connected Whyte to the crime based on DNA evidence.
The case was reopened when Army forensic examiners began using new technology to analyze the existing evidence collected by Colorado Springs police.
Investigators used DNA phenotyping in 2016 to get predictions for various traits of the suspect, including ancestry, hair color, skin color, freckling and face shape. Forensic analysts were able to produce a composite to depict what the suspect would’ve looked like at the time of the crime as well as what he may have looked like 30 years later.
In 2019, the Criminal Investigation Command received a name from a hit in a database based on genealogy information. It was Whyte, a retired soldier who was stationed at Fort Carson at the time of Krashoc’s murder.
“We received the investigative genetic genealogy report, and there was only a single name listed in the report,” supervisory biologist Jennifer Coslin said. “That was a pretty memorable moment. We were able to put a name to the unknown profile. I wasn’t sure if we would ever get to this point.”
Forensic science officer Jessica Veltri said she was in disbelief when decades of investigation finally gave them a suspect.
“Receiving the results of the genetic genealogy report and hearing how the analyst worked through publicly sourced data to identify a specific name was incredibly exciting,” Veltri said. “We finally had a viable lead that could potentially confirm Michael Whyte was the killer.”
Colorado Springs police began conducting surveillance on Whyte and recovered a cup he used at a fast food restaurant from a trash can. The DNA from the cup linked Whyte to evidence at the 1987 crime scene.
Whyte was arrested in June 2019. Two years later, a jury convicted him of murder.
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