KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- What happened to 16-year-old Fawn Cox has been a mystery for more than 30 years, but the case is now solved.

However, it’s tough answers for her family.

Advanced DNA testing revealed the rapist and killer is Cox's own cousin, Donald Cox Jr. He died years ago from an overdose.

"It's a relief there's closure," said Felisa Cox, Fawn's sister. "The answers aren't always what we were asking for, but there's closure."

This is the first murder case solved by the Kansas City Police Department using advanced genetic genealogy techniques like what was used in the Golden State Killer case.

Case history

On July 26, 1989, Fawn Cox was murdered in her bedroom. She was raped and strangled.

Her mother and little sister found her when they heard her alarm, but Fawn Cox never turned it off.

“I went over to shake her, ‘Come on! Get up!’ But she had been gone for a while,” Fawn Cox’s sister, Felisa Cox, remembers.

Fawn Cox had worked at Worlds of Fun until 11 p.m. and then came home and went straight to bed knowing she had to work the next day.

Felisa Cox says no one in the family heard anything that night because air conditioner units were running. But Felisa Cox remembers the family dog being agitated. That was brushed off because the dog was pregnant.

“To pick that home and that window to come in undetected and leave undetected makes sense the suspect knew Fawn,” KCPD Sgt. Ben Caldwell said.

Family fights for DNA testing

Fawn Cox’s family fought for year for advanced DNA testing.

They held fundraisers and spoke out for the need for advanced testing and even offered to pay for it themselves. 

The Kansas City police said answers came in just a matter of weeks once they did advanced genetic genealogy testing. That testing was too expensive for KCPD, the FBI paid the bill. 

The family says what happened to Fawn Cox simply haunted them and the lack of answers was painful.

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(1) comment


As an international genealogist and a licensed private investigator, headquarterrd here in KC, I want it to be very clear that this technology has been used for several years for forensic genealogy cases to include solving cold cases, adoption cases (locating biological parents) and legal cases like heirship. Although a3Genealogy and other forensic firms work throughout the nation solving forensic genealogical cases, the use of analyzing DNA database results, tools, and technologies seem to be limited in this area.

I'm happy to see that the KC area is joining other cities in adopting present day technologies to these unsolved crimes. Kathleen@a3genealogy.com

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