Claire Hough Murder: How Did She Die? Who Killed Her?

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Investigation Discovery’s ‘People Magazine Investigates: Blood in the Sand’ follows the investigation technique of the homicide of 14-year-old Claire Hough in San Diego, California, in August 1984. It took the police about three a very long time to presumably treatment, though no arrests had been ever made. If you is perhaps intrigued to know what occurred, proper right here’s what everyone knows to this point.

How Did Claire Hough Die?

Claire Penelope Hough was born on September 30, 1969, in Cranston, Rhode Island, to Samuel and Penelope Hough. She was the youngest of two youngsters in her middle-class family. According to her family, she was a vivid and intelligent scholar, coming into her tenth grade, nonetheless didn’t care rather a lot for varsity. She appreciated poetry and music and was an ardent fan of rock bands like Van Halen and Kiss. Her father, Samuel Hough, reminisced how she sometimes stood for people being bullied and was discovering her method in life.

In August 1984, she and her most interesting pal, Kimberly Jamer, every 14, visited San Diego in the previous couple of days of the summer time season journey. Claire appreciated the seaside, and the duo stayed in Del Mar Heights with Claire’s grandparents, which was a few 15-minute stroll from Torrey Pines State Beach. They used to walk there day-after-day with towels, bathe throughout the photo voltaic, and take heed to the transportable radio they launched with them. However, when Kimberly returned dwelling after each week, Claire sometimes complained she was bored and slipped out at evening time to the seaside.
On the evening time of August 24, 1984, she was on one amongst her associated evening time adventures, visiting the native Circle Ok to buy cigarettes, as testified by the store clerk afterward. The clerk moreover acknowledged she went in course of the seaside, which was the ultimate time she was seen alive. Her physique was found at 5:00 am by a beachcomber, Wallace Wheeler, who was amassing aluminum cans on the seaside. She was sexually assaulted and strangled, and her neck was slashed and her face battered. Her left breast was severed, and the perpetrator crammed sand down her throat. The savagery of the assault shocked the police as they began to seek for her killer.

Who Killed Claire Hough?

The investigators initially suspected Wallace as a result of the attainable killer, given his earlier conviction of peeping and his conduct of sending weekly letters to Claire’s mom and father after they met him and gave him their dwelling deal with. Egged on by the Houghs, the police interrogated Wallace nonetheless dismissed him after discovering he was schizophrenic and too delusional to commit such a heinous crime. According to native data tales, Wallace died by suicide after leaping from the thirteenth flooring of a San Diego residence establishing 4 years later.

Kevin Brown

The case went chilly after the detectives exhausted all suspects and lead, and no new proof cropped up. For virtually three a very long time, there have been no new developments till the case was re-opened by the San Diego Police Department within the summertime of 2012. The police had preserved the garments and vaginal swabs retrieved from the crime scene and in the midst of the autopsy in 1984. Forensic science was not muchly superior then, and the investigators didn’t acquire rather a lot in addition to to seek out out whether or not or not the stains appeared from folks.

By 2012, forensic experience had develop to be a compulsory instrument in felony investigations, and criminologists extracted DNA from the blood stains on Claire’s jeans and underwear and created a genetic profile. When it was run by way of the police databases, the investigators lastly found a match – the concerned profile belonged to a felon named Ronald Tatro. According to police tales, Ronald had prior convictions involving raping a lady at knifepoint in Arkansas in 1974 and endeavoring to abduct a teen in La Mesa in 1985 using a stun gun. He suffered from an incapacity to control his violent urges and had even admitted himself to a psychiatric clinic as quickly as. 

As the investigators thought they’d lastly solved the decades-old case, that they had been in for a shock when the DNA analysis of the vaginal swabs matched with an individual from the police division – Kevin Brown, a retired criminalist for the San Diego Police Department. He had served the division for 20 years in quite a few roles, from narcotics to serology, sooner than hanging up his boots in 2002. The investigators couldn’t uncover any hyperlink between Ronald and Kevin, who had a transparent felony doc.

Ronald Tatro

Interrogating Ronald was moreover out of the question since he died on August 24, 2011,  27 years after Claire’s physique was found. According to police tales, he had drowned all through a boating accident in a river. However, his glasses and pockets had been found on the boat, and proof steered Ronald may have purposely gone into the river. Law enforcement officers refused to rule so many circumstances as co-incidence and decided to question Kevin. They regarded into him to look out he had a doc of visiting strip golf tools and a zeal for nude footage, in step with plenty of his former colleagues. His quirks had even earned him a nickname, “Kinky Kevin,” amongst his former co-workers.

On January 9, 2014, the detectives dropped in at Kevin’s Chula Vista dwelling to question him regarding the homicide and DNA proof. What adopted was months of approved tussle and Kevin attempting to indicate himself innocent and getting an rising variety of entangled. Fearing his reputation getting maligned and shedding face in society, the 62-year-old took his life by hanging himself from a tree on October 21, 2014. The lawyer of his property acknowledged, “He was afraid they were going to arrest him, that he would be put in jail and subject to abuse, and he couldn’t stand it.”

Following his lack of life, his partner, Rebecca, sued the San Diego Police Department, and a courtroom awarded her $6 million in February 2020. The courtroom moreover ordered Michael Lambert, the main detective on Kevin’s case, to pay $50,000 in punitive damages. To date, the police haven’t been able to arrange any hyperlink between Ronald and Kevin, though the two of them are acknowledged as attainable suspects throughout the 1984 murder of Claire.


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