Police are laying fresh eyes on decades-old unsolved homicide cases, thanks to recent advances in DNA technology.
The fatal stabbing of Diane Hietbrink, 58, occurred almost 17 years ago and has been labeled a cold case, said Keith Paul, a Henderson police spokesman.
But her family never stopped looking for answers, and police are stepping back in to help.
On Sept. 25, 1996, Hietbrink’s husband found her stabbed to death in their home, on Nebraska Street, near Water Street and Basic Road. The house since has been demolished.
A ripped-off shirt pocket was found at the scene, with handwriting on a card believed to be the killer’s.
Witnesses said they saw a man in his early twenties leave the area and get on a bus.
At the time, the evidence at the scene yielded disappointing results.
Henderson police recently reviewed many of its cold case files and pulled out Hietbrink’s in hopes that new DNA testing might shed light on what happened that evening.
They resubmitted the evidence in May and are awaiting results.
David Johnson, Hietbrink’s brother, has aided police for years and is confident someone might know something about that day.
Johnson used to take his sister to lunch in Boulder City every week, and she loved playing with her grandchildren.
“She was a kind, gentle soul,” he said of his sister.
Johnson said if the evidence is examined again and eventually leads police to answers, it still won’t solve everything for the family.
“Putting her killer in jail would bring justice, but not much closure,” he said.
Even so, police hope that putting this case in the spotlight will prompt anyone who remembers something from the incident to come forward.
Anyone with information about this case can call the Henderson Police Department at 702-267-4750. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555 or www.crimestoppersof nv.com.
“The community can help as much as the police do in these situations,” Paul said. “We are always hopeful to solve these cases.”
Contact Annalise Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0264.