The killer of Bill Medley's ex-wife, Karen Klaas, right, has finally been identified 40 years on
High-tech DNA analysis has been used to prove that Karen Klaas, 32, was raped and strangled by serial sex attacker Kenneth Troyer.
Troyer, who was shot dead by police in 1982, was named after crime scene forensic traces were matched with gene samples from one of his relatives.
Bill Medley, 76, whose hits include Unchained Melody and You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling, said the news brought closure.
He added: “It’s been something we’ve been hoping for and speculating about for 40 years. “All of a sudden they say, ‘We got him and here’s who did it’.
“It’s been a long road and we’re just thrilled that we can close the book.”
Karen Klaas, who had wed again after her six-year marriage to the pop star, was living in Hermosa Beach, a seaside town in Los Angeles County.
Righteous Brothers star, Bill Medley, left, said the news brought closure
The mother-of-two had just dropped off her five-year-old son at day care and was at home on her own when Troyer struck in January 1976.
When it happened, it was just a mind-blower
Bobby Hatfield, Righteous Brothers
She was discovered dying in her ransacked house after neighbours grew worried about her whereabouts and called police.
She had been battered, raped and strangled with one of her stockings and spent five days in a coma before she died. Witnesses spotted a suspect leaving the property.
He was described as being in his 30s, small and bearded with bushy hair. Investigators initially focused on five suspects but there was no hard evidence against them and when DNA testing became available, they were eliminated from the investigation.
Troyer, who was killed in a gun battle with police after he escaped from a Californian prison, had a lengthy record for burglaries and was linked to numerous sex attacks.
Police linked him to Mrs Klaas’s murder after constructing his DNA profile from a relative’s samples held in the FBI’s forensic database.
Larry Brandenburg, lead detective in the case, said Troyer did not know the victim but had been staying with a relative nearby.
LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said: “By the perseverance of the detectives, we were able to provide closure.”
High-tech DNA analysis has been used to prove Karen Klass was killed by Kenneth Troyer, pictured
Medley, who enjoyed a string of hits with Righteous Brothers partner Bobby Hatfield, added: “We miss Karen. “She was an incredible girl and was one of my best friends after the divorce.
“When it happened, it was just a mind-blower.
“The most important thing is the boys didn’t get to grow up with their mother.”
The Californian-born singer remarried three times and remains wed to fourth wife Paula, with whom he has a daughter, singer McKenna.
After the Righteous Brothers’ heyday, Medley went on to enjoy chart-topping success in 1987 with (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, a duet sung with Jennifer Warnes.
The 1965 hit Unchained Melody was also successfully rereleased in 1990 after being included in the soundtrack to Hollywood blockbuster Ghost.