The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is asking the public for clues to the murder of a teen girl whose nude body was found with more than 60 stab wounds in Sunnyvale 31 years ago. The girl, 15-year-old Karen Stitt, was a student at Palo Alto High School last seen near a bus stop at the corner of El Camino Real and South Wolfe Road in Sunnyvale on Sept. 4, 1982, according to Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani.
Karen’s murder is the first cold case listed on a new page on the district attorney’s office website to be devoted to unsolved murders and updated periodically, according to the office’s media coordinator Sean Webby. At the time of her death, Karen, who turned 15 that July 25, had recently moved from Pittsburgh, Pa., to live with her father in Palo Alto and had been taking buses from her father’s home to visit her boyfriend in Sunnyvale.
She was with her boyfriend in Sunnyvale on the evening of Sept. 3, 1982, when they played video games at a convenience store and then around midnight went to a miniature golf course called Golfland. At about 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 4, Karen’s boyfriend dropped her off near the bus stop so that she could catch the line back to her father’s residence in Palo Alto.
The girl was wearing a leather jacket, striped shirt, pants, and her boyfriend’s baseball hat with an insignia from the rock band Rush on it. The following day, a deliveryman found her naked body, bound with her own clothing, near a restaurant. Her body, stabbed more than 60 times, had been thrown over a four-foot high wall, and her boyfriend’s hat was found lying nearby. A machinist who worked the night Karen was last seen reported noticing a truck in the area that appeared out of place.
The truck was a white, old-fashioned panel truck with a stripe on its side and a rectangular sticker on a bumper. The truck had been parked, with its parking lamps on, near where Karen’s body was located. The district attorney’s office is requesting that anyone with information about the truck or anything else about Karen’s murder to contact Investigator Michael Brown at (408) 808-3760. Kajani is the head the district attorney’s office’s Cold Case Unit.
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