Police Identify Female Suspect in 1989 Murder of Sarah Jo DeLeon in Kansas

By Andrew Simontacchi
Andrew Simontacchi
Andrew Simontacchi
May 31, 2016 Updated: May 31, 2016

A suspect in the nearly 30-year-old murder case of 19-year-old Sarah Jo DeLeon has been identified, according to the Kansas City Kansas Police Department (KCKPD). 

DeLeon’s body was found with severe head trauma and multiple stab wounds in December 1989—her car had been dumped just a few miles away.

At the time, no suspect was arrested or even named.

Now, the KCKPD said it has identified a woman as a suspect, linking her to at least two crimes spanning from 1987 to 1994, according to a press conference held over the recent Memorial Day weekend.

The suspect is also believed to be linked to a February 1987 abduction case. The KCKPD was led to a strange abduction case in an American Inn, not far from where DeLeon’s car had been retrieved. In January 1994, 26-year-old Diana Ault was found shot to death just 10 miles from the killing of DeLeon.

Kansas City, Kansas police have a female suspect in mind for who they believe killed 19-year-old Sarah Jo DeLeon. Her body was found in December of 1989. (Sarah Jo DeLeon, family Facebook)
Sarah Jo DeLeon’s body was found with a severe head trauma and multiple stab wounds back in December of 1989. (Sarah Jo DeLeon, family Facebook)

Detectives believe the woman involved was romantically linked to men in both DeLeon and Ault’s lives, and quite possibly had been a “romantic rival,” according to KCTV-5.

DeLeon’s case had been reopened back in 2014, after the KCKPD received forensic testing technology from the FBI.

With their newly found evidence, the KCKPD is planning on moving the case up to the Kansas City District Attorney’s Office within the next couple of weeks.

A Facebook page for DeLeon has been set up by her family. Her brother, Matt DeLeon, told KCTV-5: “This is the closest we have been to having something happen as an arrest … We are just hoping to get the person off the street.”

Anyone with information on any of the cases listed above is encouraged to contact authorities by calling the T.I.P.S. Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.