News release - 9/6/2012

Published 9/6/2012 (all press releases for this day)

Jeri Williams
Chief of Police
Oxnard Police Department

R. Jason Benites
Assistant Chief

Scott Whitney
Assistant Chief



INCIDENT:  Homicide Suspect Arrested
DATE/TIME:  September 6, 2012, 1340 hours (CST)
LOCATION:  Fairfield, Alabama 
VICTIM(S):  Stacy Knappenberger, 15-years old (1980) 
SUSPECT(S):  Thomas Young, 65 years old, Fairfield, Alabama 
PREPARED BY:  Assistant Chief of Police Scott Whitney, (805) 385-7751
Commander Mike Adair, Oxnard Police, (805) 385-7801
Det Bob Eckman, Oxnard Police Major Crimes,  385-7760  

On September 6, 2012, Oxnard Police Department detectives and members of the Ventura County Cold Case Task Force arrested Thomas Young, age 65, of Fairfield, Alabama, for the murder of Stacy Knappenberger. Stacy Knappenberger was 15 years old when she was murdered in 1980. She was found dead, in her home, in the 5300 block of South J St on July 30, 1980. An autopsy at that time determined that Knappenberger had died from blunt force trauma and multiple stab wounds.  It is also suspected that a sexual assault occurred. 
The Oxnard Police Department conducted an extensive investigation in 1980, but no suspect information was developed at the time.  In 2000, due to advances in technology, the evidence in this case was re-examined by Oxnard Police Department detectives. DNA evidence that had been maintained since 1980 was submitted for testing by the Sheriff’s Crime Lab.   
In 2010, a DNA hit was made on a suspect through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). The suspect was identified as Thomas Young. The CODIS match was just the initial step into the investigation of Thomas Young’s involvement with the crime. Further testing and additional follow-up work still needed to be done to develop the probable cause for Young’s arrest.
CODIS is the national databank that contains the DNA profiles of arrested and convicted criminal offenders in the United States. Once an unknown offender’s DNA profile is entered into CODIS, it is compared to the other profiles in the system to see if a match can be made. If there is a match between the newly entered DNA profile and a DNA profile already in the CODIS system, the Department of Justice notifies the local crime lab which, in turn, notifies the investigating law enforcement agency of the match.
Following the CODIS match, the Knappenberger case was assigned to the Ventura County Cold Case Task Force.  The Task Force consists of investigators from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau and the District Attorney’s Office. It is a grant funded task force through the Department of Justice.   
Young was located living in Fairfield, Alabama and, with the assistance of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, was arrested under the authority of a Ventura County murder warrant.  Young was booked into the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham, Alabama for murder. Young is currently awaiting extradition back to Ventura County. 
Police Chief Jeri Williams stated, “We know this is a very emotional day for the family and we hope that this helps in the healing process. We know that they have thought about Stacy every single day since she was killed in 1980. It’s also a very rewarding day for law enforcement and a tribute to the good work that was put into this case over the past 32 years.”
Anyone having information about the case should call Detective Bob Eckman at 385-7760.  If you wish to remain anonymous you may call Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. You can also visit this site to submit a tip via text or email.  Lastly, you can also call the Oxnard Police Violent Crimes Hotline at (805) 982-7070.
DATE / TIME PREPARED:  September 6, 2012 / 1500 hours 


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