Kristin O’Connell Unsolved Homicide Case

Digital Advocacy in Action

Case Overview

“She was my daughter, and they’re not going to kill my daughter and walk away,” Phyllis O’Connell.


Kristin O’Connell, a college student from Minnesota, traveled to Ovid, NY in August 1985 to visit a man she had met during Spring Break. The day after her arrival, Kristin called her mother to inform her that she was cutting her trip short and planned to leave the following day. However, that same night, Kristin disappeared.

The man she had come to visit reported her missing to law enforcement thirteen hours later, claiming that Kristin had left his trailer alone around 11:30 pm to take a walk down an unlit road without shoes or a purse. Two days later, Kristin’s naked body was discovered in a nearby cornfield, less than a quarter of a mile away from the trailer. An autopsy revealed that Kristin had been stabbed multiple times and her throat had been slashed. Toxicology testing showed no alcohol in her system, and there were no signs of sexual assault.

Authorities have maintained that Kristin’s murder was a crime of opportunity committed by a random stranger passing through a small rural town. However, rumors have circulated for over thirty-seven years in Ovid, NY, that suggest Kristin’s death was not a crime of opportunity. Despite the efforts of State Police, no arrests have been made in connection with her murder.

In December 2009, a request made by the family and law enforcement to retest evidence was submitted to the NYS Department of Health and at that time NYS senator Mike Nozzolio, Senator Chuck Schumer, and MN Senator Amy Klobuchar supported the efforts of the DA Barry Porsche and NYS Police Investigator Jeff Arnold to use new touch DNA technology offered by a Dutch team of touch DNA experts. This request was denied by then NYS commissioner of health, Howard Zucker.

 In 2021, a proposal was made to NYS Police for a team of esteemed investigators to work alongside NYS police to review the case, create a profile, follow leads, and interview or interrogate potential suspects. This team offered to test all the physical evidence in the case through a non-profit forensics lab based in Salt Lake City at no cost to the citizens of New York State or Seneca County. This help was declined by NYS Police.

District Attorney Mark Sinkiewicz has never returned a phone call or responded to an email from the victim’s mother.

Case location

Ovid, NY

Date of crime

August 16, 1985

Years Unsolved

How CCA Helped

Built Digital Case File

Added the case to the uncovered national cold case database. We had over 10,000 unique views on her case page within the first month.

Gained Media Exposure

Gained national news coverage on Fox News and Dateline NBC’s Cold Case Spotlight on the 36th anniversary of her murder. Her case was also featured on the podcasts Method and Madness, Crimepedia and Nefarious Nightmare on a True Crime Talk episode on Clubhouse.

Fundraising Appeal and Petition Developed

Revised and GoFundMe petitions and re-circulated them through various digital platforms.

This resulted in a 200% increase in petition signatures

Ongoing Media and Case Advocacy

Press release on the launch of the podcast mini- series on her case.

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