BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It was a case that sat on the shelf for decades before new technology helped lead to a break in the murder of 18-year-old Dawn Koons who was found strangled in her bathroom in 1979.
Koon's murder is Kern County's oldest cold case on record. Prentice Foreman is accused of killing Koons and set to go to trial April 22.
The cold case of Dawn Koons is one of many Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer's office is looking to solve. The former head of the county's gang unit is now putting more resources into solving cold cases.
According to Zimmer, 50% of homicides in the last few years have gone unsolved. Now the Bakersfield Police department have set up a cold case unit for investigators to work exclusively on old cases. Zimmer says in the last four months since she was sworn into office, BPD has been surveying the number of cases within city limits. Zimmer says from 1933 to 2006 they have identified well over 300 cases.
Zimmer has also increased the number of prosecutors in the homicide unit from five to twelve members. She's also focusing on securing more funding for the secret witness hotline. Zimmer says most crimes are solved by witnesses coming forward with information.
If you have information on homicide cases, call the Secret Witness Hotline at 661-322-4040.