Midstate Mysteries: Who killed Kimberly Yohe?

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Dana Yohe still struggles to talk about the brutal murder of her big sister.

“It's been real hard,” she says, wiping away tears.

The killing is a crime that has gone unsolved for 17 long years.

“The hardest part is not having closure … knowing that someone's living their everyday life that could have done this,” Yohe said.

In 1996, Kimberly Yohe was energetic and outgoing. The 20-year-old known as Kimmie lived with her family in Etters and worked at a nearby call center. In May of that year, two fishermen discovered her body in the Susquehanna River in Middle Paxton Township. She had been missing for more than a week.

Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick remembers that night in vivid detail.

“This is a very bad person that did this,” Hetrick said. “A very sick person.”

Kimmie had been severely beaten and strangled before she was put in the river. She was discovered with her hands bound behind her back. She was nude except for white athletic socks.

District Attorney Ed Marsico was called to the scene that night, then working as the on-call assistant district attorney. He said the case still stands out to this day.

“Those types of things we just don't see in a normal case,” Marsico said. “It's more out of a movie than out of a central Pennsylvania homicide.”

Adding to the mystery, Kimmie's car was found 22 miles away at a truck stop on Route 39. Police focused their investigation on truck drivers who were passing through the area, but never found a solid lead.

Why was her car there? Why might Kimmie have been there? Police still can't say for sure.

“The truck stop had a history of being a high-crime area,” state police spokesman Trooper Robert Hicks said, noting that prostitution and drug-related crimes were rampant.

It was the way that Kimmie was murdered that shocked and puzzled investigators. The crime seemed to be planned. It didn't appear to be the work of a novice.

Police immediately wondered if the killer had done this before. Now they wonder: did he do it again?

“Was this someone who was a serial killer,” Marsico said. “Was this someone who was randomly doing these types of crimes in different areas?

“If people know about this they should tell us, because this is somebody that doesn't deserve to be out and free,” Hetrick said.

Police plan to resubmit evidence samples in the case for DNA analysis, hoping for new leads.

“The technology that we had in the '90's, compared to what we have today, is night and day,” Hicks said. “It's made leaps and bounds.”

It's welcome news to Kimmie's friends and family, who have always held onto hope that someday someone would pay for her violent death.

“I always have,” friend Rachel Delicati said. “Kim would have never given up if it was one of us.”

“It does make me hopeful,” Dana Yohe said. “I'm glad they're gonna do that.”

Police have also submitted the case to the FBI's Truck Driver Serial Killer Initiative, hoping to learn if the details of the killing match any other murders across the country.

Dana Yohe said until someone is behind bars, she knows her family will continue to struggle with their grief.

“She needs to rest in peace,” she said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Pennsylvania Crime Stoppers at 800-4-PA-TIPS. There is a reward for information that leads to an arrest.

 

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