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Unsolved Murders/Cold Cases Forum For Crime Buffs Who Follow Unsolved Murder Cases. More and more of these cases are being solved every day, thanks to new DNA testing.

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Old 10-04-2009, 08:02 PM
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Post Kyla Annan, raped and killed


Kyla Annan

5 years later, police still hunting for man who raped and killed Kyla Annan

By Jaclyn O'Malleyjomalley@rgj.com • September 28, 2009

A photo of Kyla Annan is taped to the corner of a Reno police homicide detective’s computer, sticking out amongst family pictures and law enforcement paraphernalia.

The preschool worker’s image has been on Det. Ron Chalmers’ computer since the 28-year-old was found raped and strangled in her Quincy Street home on Sept. 23, 2004. DNA evidence concluded the man who broke into her home 9 days earlier — disrobed two shirts and then fled when he saw her asleep with her boyfriend — is also responsible for her murder.

But so far, his genetic profile has not matched to any offenders stored in national or state DNA databases. A DNA dragnet at the time of her death netting 160 people — including transients, known drug users and sex offenders — also yielded no suspects.

Seeing the attractive redhead’s smile is a daily reminder to the veteran detective that her killer is still out there. And Chalmers is confident he will strike again, if he hasn’t already. Her parents, Steven and Cheryl Annan, of South Lake Tahoe, continue to mourn their daughter, and are also troubled the case remains cold.

“Someone knows something about Kyla’s murder,” Chalmers said. “It was a very violent, horrific crime and the killer was familiar with her patterns. She was targeted, and it’s very likely he’ll reoffend.”

He is hoping a tipster with crucial information will call him, and finally help crack the case open. Neighbors reported hearing and seeing nothing.

Looking for tipsters

Chalmers said he is going to work with crime lab scientists to review the DNA evidence, searching for any new techniques since 2004 that could bring them closer to a suspect, such as partial hits to relatives already in the database. A nearly $25,000 anonymous grant given to Reno police in May for use in solving cold cases could help pay for outside DNA testing, he said.

A national teletype is also being prepared by Chalmers to send to law enforcement across the country, outlining details of Annan’s killing. He hopes another agency with a similar case will share information and lead to a suspect. He is again reviewing police reports of prowlers around the time of her death, looking for clues.

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Risky neighborhood

Always troubling for Annan’s parents was where she had lived. Across the street was a home known to police where people sell and use drugs. She shared her back wall with a temporary labor business, where Chalmers said hundreds of transients each day go for work, and many used Annan’s backyard, shed and car as a place to drink, sleep and socialize. When he checked the company’s records searching for names of workers, he was given a registry that included names, some only gave a first, and a check next to a box if they had a vehicle.

Annan did not take security precautions as her friends knew she left her doors unlocked, and at the time of the first break in and her death, screens to several windows that were cut off had been left on the ground, Chalmers said.

The first time the suspect broke into Annan’s home, Chalmers said it was likely sexually motivated. Chalmers believes he walked in through the unlocked back door. He said the man seemingly was intent on victimizing Annan, and could have been stalking her.

Annan graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in psychology. She was an aspiring teacher who liked to sew and garden. After her death, her parrot, Huey, continued to sing the children’s songs she taught him, her family said.

Her mother has previously urged the public not to forget about her daughter.

“A huge part of my life is broken away,” Cheryl Annan said in an earlier interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal. “There was no justice in the way she was taken from this world before her time. And the one who did this to her is the lowest form of life. I plead that anyone who saw or heard anything that could bring her killer to justice do the right thing and speak up.”

http://www.rgj.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art...S0104/90928023
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:17 PM
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Alert Leads still sought in killing of preschool worker Kyla Annan


Kyla Annan smiles in this 1999 photo during a breakfast celebration, the day she graduated from college.

By Jaclyn O'Malley • jomalley@rgj.com • November 20, 2009

This story originally appeared Sept. 23, 2005. The case is still unsolved.

It's been a year since 28-year-old preschool worker Kyla Annan was slain by a man who broke into her home 10 days before he would come back and brutally take her life.

Reno police have no leads, and the DNA of 150 men contacted during the investigation has not matched the killer. Neighbors didn't see or hear anything.

Ron Chalmers, lead detective on the case, is haunted that Kyla's murder is unsolved. Her parents still want to know: Why was Kyla killed?

"Our whole family wants an answer to why someone felt they had the right to take sweet Kyla's life," said her mother, Cheryl Annan, of South Lake Tahoe. "Who is this person? Why and what gave him the right to do this?"

Cheryl Annan said the anniversary of her daughter's death has deepened the hurt in her heart. She said she finds little relief from the "would'ves and should'ves" that daily run through her thoughts.

"Don't forget Kyla," her mother urged. "There was no justice in the way she was taken from this world before her time, and the one who did this to her is the lowest form of life. I plead that anyone who saw or heard anything that could bring this killer to justice will do the right thing and speak up."

Chalmers is hoping someone will call him with the right tip. The Annans are angry and feel helpless. Troubling for all of them is that her killer appears to be a stranger. Nothing was stolen from her home, which indicates to police that the reason for the attack was likely murder instead of burglary.

"This case is so bothersome ... she was an only child and appeared to be anyone's sister or daughter," Chalmers said. "All we need is to be pointed in the right direction. The physical evidence will identify the killer."

Chalmers is confident a DNA match will occur at some point.

"With a crime like this, I can't believe it was his first, or his last," he said.

Chalmers is referring to a national database that cross checks DNA evidence from unsolved cases and certain convicted felons. Many cold cases have been solved when an inmate's DNA was entered into the database after conviction. Backlogs and staffing shortages at crime labs can delay the process.

This story originally appeared Sept. 23, 2005. The case is still unsolved.

It's been a year since 28-year-old preschool worker Kyla Annan was slain by a man who broke into her home 10 days before he would come back and brutally take her life.

Reno police have no leads, and the DNA of 150 men contacted during the investigation has not matched the killer. Neighbors didn't see or hear anything.

Ron Chalmers, lead detective on the case, is haunted that Kyla's murder is unsolved. Her parents still want to know: Why was Kyla killed?

"Our whole family wants an answer to why someone felt they had the right to take sweet Kyla's life," said her mother, Cheryl Annan, of South Lake Tahoe. "Who is this person? Why and what gave him the right to do this?"

Cheryl Annan said the anniversary of her daughter's death has deepened the hurt in her heart. She said she finds little relief from the "would'ves and should'ves" that daily run through her thoughts.

"Don't forget Kyla," her mother urged. "There was no justice in the way she was taken from this world before her time, and the one who did this to her is the lowest form of life. I plead that anyone who saw or heard anything that could bring this killer to justice will do the right thing and speak up."

Chalmers is hoping someone will call him with the right tip. The Annans are angry and feel helpless. Troubling for all of them is that her killer appears to be a stranger. Nothing was stolen from her home, which indicates to police that the reason for the attack was likely murder instead of burglary.

"This case is so bothersome ... she was an only child and appeared to be anyone's sister or daughter," Chalmers said. "All we need is to be pointed in the right direction. The physical evidence will identify the killer."

Chalmers is confident a DNA match will occur at some point.

"With a crime like this, I can't believe it was his first, or his last," he said.

Chalmers is referring to a national database that cross checks DNA evidence from unsolved cases and certain convicted felons. Many cold cases have been solved when an inmate's DNA was entered into the database after conviction. Backlogs and staffing shortages at crime labs can delay the process.

(2 of 3)

A door-to-door DNA dragnet of dozens of neighborhood men -- men she was acquainted with and those whom she called on her cell phone or those who called her -- resulted in no matches.

Kyla shared an alley with a temporary labor company where police say up to 100 transients a day try to find work. Some are known to loiter in neighbors' yards drinking alcohol.

Chalmers collected worker sign-in sheets dated on or about when Kyla died. Although, those documents state nothing more than a handwritten name and whether or not they had a vehicle. A casino is also across the street that's parking lot was where many suspected drug dealers have been arrested.

Police do know she was last seen Sept. 21, 2004, tending to her garden. When she was found two days later, the cage of her parrot, Huey, had been covered, something she did every night at 7 p.m.

Her body was beginning to decompose. Buckets of water and cleaning products were out, indicating she was housekeeping. About 1:15 a.m. Sept. 18 she checked her voice mail. It was the last time she used her cell phone. She had not shown up for work the day before and the day she was last seen.

Steve Annan, her father, said the emptiness created by the death of his only child is indescribable and constantly painful. He had a special bond with his daughter, and both shared a love of music, humor, movies and literature.

"I will never be able to experience this wonderful form of contact again because this person so like me is gone, deprived of two-thirds of her natural life," her dad said.

"A huge piece of my life is broken away," he said. "She touched so many people with her grace, friendliness and kindness in her 28 1/2 years, but how many will never have the chance to be so graced?"

When she died, Kyla was an assistant at Golden Goose Preschool in Reno. Her family said she loved her job. Kyla loved to sew her own clothes, paint and draw. Huey continues to sing the children's songs she taught him, said her aunt, Julie Wilson.

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She graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in psychology and wanted to become a teacher.


"It's not fair"

Kyla's boyfriend, Travis Miller, found her lifeless body on her bed Sept. 23, 2004. She lived at 624 Quincy St., an area known to Reno police for drug activity and vagrancy. Ten days earlier, a late-night intruder broke into her home through a back door and began removing his clothing. He threw one shirt on her sewing mannequin.

After making his way in the dark to Kyla's bedroom, the intruder cupped his hand over Miller's mouth. He ran as Miller roused from his sleep. Police collected his clothing -- a white tank top and button-down short-sleeve shirt -- and Washoe County Crime Lab DNA analysts would later use evidence from the shirts to prove the intruder was her killer.

Kyla's family said they encouraged her to move, but she told them she felt safe. The home is now for sale.

Neighbors recalled her often tending to her garden, waving when they walked or drove by. Chalmers said Kyla's windows had been left open with screens missing when she was found. She also left her door unlocked for friends. Kyla had hung bells on her doors and windows for a sense of security.

Because the investigation is ongoing, Chalmers declined to say how Kyla was killed. He would only say she fought for her life during a brutal assault.

Wilson, of Merced, Calif., said her niece was kind and loving to everyone. Her family had collected Kyla's belongings from her cluttered Quincy Street home after her death.

"Our family is so emotionally torn ... a person is wandering out there who committed this horrendous crime and even if he is caught, it will never bring her back," Wilson said. "The pain doesn't ever go away, nor does the anger I feel that he's not caught.

"Her life was cut so short. She could have achieved so many things. Kyla had a giant future and was cheated. It's not fair."

http://www.rgj.com/article/20091120/...ker-Kyla-Annan
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