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FBI Reopens 1994 Case Of Young Mother's Murder, Which Is Possibly Connected To Separate Slaying
Authorities believe the homicide of Diana Ault is connected to the stabbing murder of 18-year-old Sarah De Leon in 1989.
The FBI is stepping in to take a new look at the 1994 murder of a young Missouri mother who was murdered in her own home.
It’s been 28 years since someone shot 26-year-old Diana Ault with her two young children nearby in their Independence, Missouri, home, according to NBC affiliate KSHB-TV. On Monday, the FBI announced they'll be joining forces with the Independence Police Department to reopen the cold case investigation.
“The reexamination of this homicide, alongside our partners, demonstrated law enforcement’s long memory and relentless persistence in obtaining justice for victims and their families,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles A. Dayoub of the Kansas City Division. “With the passage of time and advances in technology, we are hopeful that a complete reexamination of this case will bring new details to light to advance this cold case investigation forward.”
On Jan. 31, 1994, officers with the Independence Police Department responded to reports of an abandoned late-1980s red Pontiac Grand Prix parked at the Church of Nazarene, according to federal authorities. Authorities recovered a stainless steel revolver, ammunition, and a spent round inside the vehicle.
They soon determined the car was registered to Diana Ault.
According to KSHB, a neighbor saw two people in the car, as well as an unidentified person running through a field near the church.
Upon searching Diana Ault’s residence, authorities found her dead in the hallway of her home, just a half-mile from the church where officers found her car. Her two children – both under the age of 5 – were unharmed in the residence.
One of the children told responders that “someone shot Mommy,” according to KSHB. Ault was shot once in the left side of her neck.
Years later, the son, who was 4 at the time of his mother’s murder, said the killer scooped him up and hid him in a closet, according to NBC News. The killer then drove off in his mother’s car, the boy said.
“Diana has been in the grave for 28 years, and she’s only been on this earth for 26,” Ault’s father, Bill Laskey, told the Kansas City outlet. “I just leave it up to the Lord. That’s all I can do.”
Laskey said the FBI’s recent involvement in the case is “a miracle coming into play” and something he has prayed for for many years.
Although no one was ever charged with Ault’s murder, authorities in Kansas City connected Ault’s cast to the 1989 murder of 18-year-old Sarah De Leon.
De Leon was last seen leaving her boyfriend’s home on Dec. 29, 1989, according to NBC News. The following morning, she was found stabbed to death near train tracks in Kansas City. Authorities believed she was killed elsewhere due to a lack of blood, and the murder weapon was never recovered.
De Leon’s car was discovered about a mile away from her home.
In 2016, authorities with the Kansas City Kansas Police Department announced they were looking into a "romantic rival" whom they’d connected to both victims.
The woman was charged with De Leon's murder, but a judge dismissed the case against her in 2017 citing lack of probable cause.
“We’ll start from the beginning and go down the road where the evidence takes us,” said FBI Special Agent Jonathan Spaeth. “In consulting with the FBI’s forensic laboratory, we submitted new items to them for testing. From that standpoint, we’re able to give a fresher look into certain pieces of evidence in that case.”
Anyone with information about the murder of Diana Ault can contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or online at tips.fbi.gov.