Kari (right)

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The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in January, 2012 to reinstate a $50,000 reward regarding a nearly 32-year-old cold case.

Palisades Charter High School student and Brentwood resident Kari Lenander was murdered in July of 1980 after she failed to return from a night out with friends.

Detective Tim Marcia from the Los Angeles Police Department has been working on Lenander’s case for 11 years. At a press conference, he announced new information had been revealed from DNA testing. He said Lenander’s murder is forensically linked to an unsolved 1995 case in Inglewood.

“There is an individual that we know at this time responsible for two heinous murders. But we need a name,” said Marcia. “And once we get that name, we feel we have the physical evidence to back up a successful prosecution.”

LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl asked Marcia how the reward would help the case. Marcia replied that when the LAPD doesn’t have relationships with key people who may have the information, the money might move the case in the right direction.

“They may not do it for the moral reason … But when there’s the reward aspect of it, they’ll come forward,” said Marcia.

The daughter of Carl J. Lenander III and Joyce Fadden, Kari Lenander was murdered in July 1980, the summer before her junior year at PaliHi. The Brentwood resident’s body was found at 4:30 a.m. on July 26 in a street gutter in south Los Angeles. She would have turned 16 on August 4.

The night before, Lenander and best friend Toni Garfield (on left in the above picture), also a PaliHi junior, had hitchhiked a ride at the corner of Wilshire and Barrington. The man who picked them up, a male Caucasian known only as Ken from Canada, gave the girls a ride first to the Hollywood area, where they stopped to use the bathroom.

Lenander and Garfield had been drinking prior to hitching a ride, and when Garfield started to feel dizzy in the bathroom, she told Lenander she had to go home. Ken drove the girls back to Brentwood and dropped Garfield off at her house. It was the last Garfield saw of her friend.

The events that followed, leading up to Lenander’s murder, remain unknown. ‘We believe Ken and Kari went to Kari’s residence, where she changed clothes,’ said Detective Tim Marcia, who, along with partner Detective Rick Jackson, has been investigating Lenander’s case for the last two years. Their unit was formed in early 2002 by then police Chief Bernard Parks.

Lenander was found strangled and ‘police thought it was a sexual assault,’ Marcia said. Ken, who has never been found, is still considered a suspect.

However, the strangulation death of Lenander, along with the foliage in her hair and white rock material found near her body’the same as that of the property across from the Lenander residence’have suggested that her murderer was someone who knew her.

Marcia also said there is reason to believe Lenander’s killer knew her because ‘she may have been being stalked at the time.’

The detectives have spoken to one individual who is still considered a suspect, since ‘he was never totally cleared of the homicide.’ Lenander’s best friend, Toni Garfield, did not know anything about the individual in question.

While the DNA evidence found on Lenander’s dress the night of the murder has not been matched, Marcia said, ‘Lenander’s death appears to be a sexual assault/murder, [and these] have a high potential to be committed by a repeat offender, so the individual could be identified with DNA.’

CrimePAY$      $50,000 Reward        TipLine 1-888-755-TIPS (8477)

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