Wednesday 20th January 2021

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced a new unit has been formed in his office to tackle cold case homicides in Missouri, and that the new unit has already charged its first murder case.

A news release says the Missouri Attorney General’s Cold Case Unit will take a fresh look at cold cases across the state and work to investigate and charge those cases.

A.G. Schmitt says, “With experienced and respected prosecutors Tom Dittmeier and Dean Hoag at the helm, I’m confident that the Cold Case Unit will successfully investigate and prosecute the cases they take on, and will bring long-awaited peace and closure to the loved ones of those victims, while bringing justice to the perpetrators of these horrific crimes.”

Functioning as part of the Office’s Criminal Division, the Cold Case Unit will work with local prosecutors across the state to take a fresh look at cold case homicides, investigate those cases, and seek to bring charges in the appropriate cases.

Attorney General Schmitt also announced that the Cold Case Unit has charged its first case, the 1986 murder of Kristen Edwards in Franklin County. Earlier this week, Kenneth Avery was charged with Second-Degree Murder, and currently is in custody. The Attorney General’s Office worked with the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to investigate this case and bring charges.

According to the probable cause statement, on Saturday, July 5, 1986, Kristen Edwards’ husband Mark Edwards came home to find his wife missing, although her purse was located in the couple’s truck parked in the driveway, a meal was left half eaten, and the television was left on.

During a search conducted on July 8, 1986, by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Kristen Edwards’ partially covered body was discovered in a wooded area roughly half a mile away from her residence. The St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office performed the autopsy and determined the cause of death to be ligature strangulation.

Avery was considered a suspect previously, but new evidence led to charges being filed against him on Tuesday.