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Family’s Persistence Reopens 58-Year-Old Cold Case (Video)

Introduction

The cold case of Karen Snyder, who was brutally murdered nearly 60 years ago, was recently reopened thanks to the persistence of her family and a crucial phone call.

The Cold Case Background

In 1966, Karen Snyder, a new mother not even 20 years old, was found stabbed to death more than 120 times inside her home in Calumet City. Her husband was at work, and their unharmed daughter was found in a bassinet nearby. Despite being a suspect, James Barbier, a pallbearer at Snyder’s funeral, was not charged due to insufficient evidence.

Family’s Efforts to Seek Justice

Karen’s daughter, Paula Larson, now 57, approached Calumet City police in 2009 for information about her mother’s case. The retired detective provided little hope, stating that the evidence was unavailable. The family felt they had reached a dead end.

A Phone Call Reopens the Case

In December 2022, Kevin Sealy, spurred by stories his grandmother often told about the unsolved murder, decided to call the Calumet City police. His call led to a new investigation, with detectives spending the next 16 months analyzing the old evidence.

Breakthrough and Arrest

WGN Investigates reported that James Barbier, now 79, was charged with first-degree murder last week. The breakthrough came when DNA evidence preserved for decades matched Barbier. He was arrested and appeared in Cook County Court.

Closure and Justice

For Kevin, the moment is a tribute to his late grandmother, who passed away seven months ago. Paula Larson sees this development as a significant step toward justice for her mother. Although Cook County prosecutors did not request Barbier to be held in jail due to his age and health, his trial is set to proceed.

Conclusion

The reopening of Karen Snyder’s cold case and the subsequent arrest of James Barbier highlight the impact of persistence and modern forensic techniques in solving decades-old crimes.

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