Man charged in Missouri woman’s 1987 killing

This booking photo provided by Franklin County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Department shows Kirby King. Authorities announced murder charges Friday, Dec. 27, 2019 against King in the 1987 killing of a young Missouri woman who was found dead near a highway with her hands tied to a rope around her neck. (Franklin County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Department via AP)

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ST. CLAIR, Mo. (AP) — Authorities announced murder charges Friday against a man in the 1987 killing of a young Missouri woman who was found dead near a highway with her hands tied to a rope around her neck.

Kirby R. King, 64, is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Karla Jane Delcour, whose body was found in a wooded area near St. Clair, a town about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of St. Louis, Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Friday. He said King was arrested Monday while visiting some relatives in Villa Ridge, which is near St. Clair, after he was indicted by a grand jury on Dec. 11.

Online court records do not list an attorney for King, who was freed after posting $100,000 bond. Pelton said King’s most recent permanent address was in Texas but he traveled frequently and was apparently living in the town of Gray Summit, which is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of St. Clair.

Pelton said his department has a cold case team consisting of a detective and four retired investigators. That team reopened the case last year.

“We wanted to make sure Ms. Delcour was never forgotten,” he said. “It was truly about justice for the victim.”

The cold case investigators traveled to Arizona and Texas to again interview former suspects and witnesses, but Pelton declined to say what new evidence or testimony led to the charges.

King was interviewed in 1987, again in the early 2000s and yet again earlier this year in Texas, said Pelton.

The decomposed remains of Delcour, who was 22 when she was killed, were found in June 1987 along an Interstate 44 service road. Her wrists were tied by a cord that also extended around her neck, Pelton said.

Delcour was living in St. Clair at the time she was killed. Her father reported her missing the same day her body was found. He said he became alarmed when he never received a Father’s Day card from her.

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