Police arrest KS man in connection to 1980 Minneapolis murder - KCTV5

Police arrest KS man in connection to 1980 Minneapolis murder

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Robert William Skogstad Robert William Skogstad
Victim: Mary Catherine Steinhart Victim: Mary Catherine Steinhart

Police arrested a Kansas man in connection with the Nov. 25, 1980 murder of a 22-year-old woman in her Minneapolis apartment.

Neighbors in the quiet subdivision in the 900 block of West Fifth Street in Edgerton, KS, are in shock after learning that 57-year-old Robert William Skogstad, who lived in the neighborhood for over a decade, is now a murder suspect.

Neighbors of Skogstad were in disbelief when they saw handcuffs slapped on him, but they were even more surprised when they found why he was arrested.

"We are a tight knit group here. We have had get-togethers and to think that someone like that lived here is disturbing," neighbor Josh Beem said.

The cold case heated up quickly because of DNA testing which led the Minneapolis Police Department to Edgerton, connecting Skogstad with the sexual assault and stabbing death of 22-year-old medical technician Mary Steinhart.

The body of Steinhart was found Nov. 25, 1980, in her apartment by her sister after she hadn't appeared for work for two days. A medical examiner ruled her death as the result of multiple sharp force injuries and was strangled. She was also found with a pillow covering her face.

A release from the Minneapolis Police Department said it took until 2010 for enough advances in DNA technology to allow them to find a match with a DNA profile found at the scene to a man who provided a profile after a sexual assault conviction in California. In the California case, the suspect was convicted of burglary and forcible rape and had used a pillow to cover the victim's case during the attack.

A release from police in Minneapolis said, when officers interviewed Skogstad, he denied living in Steinhart's apartment building even though he gave its address as his residence to a parole officer in the late 1970s. Skogstad also denied ever knowing the victim.

Minneapolis police said they learned Skogstad lived in the Twin Cities in the 1980s and had worked as a caretaker in Steinhart's apartment building.

The Hennepin County attorney's office in Minnesota issued a warrant for Skogstad last month on a second-degree murder charge.

"He came out of the garage door. They talked for a second, and then he was up against the house getting handcuffed," Beem said.

Neighbors describe Skogstad as a quiet person who kept to himself.

"You don't know your neighbor. You don't know who is living next to you," Beem said.

Skogstad is being held in Johnson County until his extradition back to Minnesota.

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