The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is launching two website sections as part of 2014’s National Crime Victims’ Rights Week -- one to protect the public from financial scams and crimes, and the other to enlist help solving violent crimes that have gone cold with time.
The first cold case featured is the unsolved 1982 slaying of Karen Stitt, a 15-year-old Palo Alto teenager, stabbed close to 60 times and dumped near a bus stop in Sunnyvale.
“We haven’t forgotten Karen," said DA Jeffrey Rosen. "And we want your help to find her killer.”
The Stitt case is the first that the website is highlighting -- other “Cold Case” unsolved violent crimes will follow. The DA's Office hopes focusing on a particular case will generate new leads.
*** The Karen Stitt Case -- Who stabbed the Palo Alto high schooler some 60 times and dumped her naked body behind the Honey Bee on Sept. 4, 1982? Does anyone remember? Or know anything? ***Karen Stitt was the new girl in town, a spunky Pittsburgh, Pa. transplant who quickly eased into the social life of Palo Alto High and negotiated the El Camino Real bus routes to and from her boyfriend’s in Sunnyvale like a native, according to the DA web site entry.
Sept. 4, 1982 was a Thursday and Karen and her boyfriend were hanging out late on a school night, playing some video games at a 7-Eleven.
Toward midnight they wandered over toward Golfland, a popular putt-putt course. Around 12:30 a.m., Karen’s boyfriend dropped her off near a bus stop at the corner of El Camino Real and South Wolfe Road.
She would grab the #22 back to Palo Alto and her father’s house.
There, snatched from the stretch of roadway choked with cruising cars, cluttered with restaurants and bars - the teenager, wearing a leather jacket, a striped shirt, pants and her boyfriend’s baseball hat with a Rush rock band insignia, disappeared.
A delivery man found her the next day.
Thrown over a 4-foot wall near the now-gone Honey Bee Restaurant, Karen’s naked body was bound with her own clothing. The hat lay nearby.
She had been stabbed more than 60 times. The possible importance of a number of clues has lingered over the years.
A machinist working late that night noticed an unusual and out-of-place truck. It was a white, old-fashioned panel truck with a stripe along its side. There was a rectangular sticker on its bumper.
It was parked near where Karen’s body was later found. Its parking lights were on.
Cold Case Unit Leader Ted Kajani and the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety are asking anyone who recalls that truck, or anything that may shed light on Karen's horrific murder, to contact them.
Even a seemingly insignificant piece of information, not collected at the time, may be vital.
If you have any information at all, please call District Attorney Investigator Michael Brown at (408) 808-3760.
The Santa Clara DA's new website, meanwhile, will also feature “Consumers Corner” – a section dedicated to providing tips and resources for those trying to be a savvy consumer and avoid scams.
“Every year our Office seeks justice for thousands of crime victims in Santa Clara County,” Rosen said. “The public has a vital role to both educate themselves against consumer crimes and to work with us to solve violent crimes, sometimes long after they happen.”
“Consumers Corner” will provide resources for people seeking information on the latest scams -- and to prevent the public from being victimized in the first place.
The first posted tip is "Planning to Remodel?" -- with cautions of ensuring contractors are licensed.
For more information go to: www.cslb.ca.gov.