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21 Solved In '21 : Day 4 : Stephanie Isaacson

On June 1, 1989, 14-year-old Stephanie Isaacson began her walk to school. She took her usual route which involved a shortcut through an empty sandlot ½ a mile from her home. That’s where her killer found her.

When Stephanie didn’t return home from school, her father called Stephanie’s school, Eldorado High School, and discovered that she’d never made it to class. He and his friends began to search for her near her usual walking path. It was there that they found her books, and called the police.

By 11p, Stephanie had been located in some brush near Stewart Ave and Linn Lane. Using the last twelve-tenths of a nanogram of DNA, and the smallest amount of DNA to ever solve a case, Othram lab was able to build a genetic profile. From there, a family tree was built, and 2 potential suspects were found.

From these 2 suspects, they focused on one, who had been charged with strangling a 25-year-old to death in 1986. This charge was dismissed due to insufficient evidence. Stephanie’s killer died by suicide in 1995. The DNA from his suicide scene was an exact match for the DNA in Stephanie’ Isaacson’s murder. It was also an exact match for the 19866 murder of Nanette Vandenberg (photo not available).

Stephanie’s favorite song was Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings.” She was extremely close with her father. Together they would ride horses and motorcycles. They would camp, hunt, boat, and scuba dive together. They’d been just one month away from moving to Spain together at the time of her brutal murder.

This case, and the case of Kim Bryant was able to be solved thanks to a donation made by an entrepreneur and philanthropist, proving that just one person can make a difference. Contact your local Cold Case dept. To see how you can help.

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