Jamie Oberg, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- April 23, 1986 was the last time a husband and two children saw their wife and mother, Kathy Sue Engle.
This cold case was brought to justice Friday in an Oklahoma County courtroom. Family members spoke directly to the man now put away for her murder.
Kyle Richard Eckardt will now spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of Kathy.
Siblings, Dawson and Kristine were just little kids when their mother was abducted by two men at Oklahoma City's Shepherd Mall. Her vehicle was discovered the next day in New Mexico. A week later her naked body was found in Sayre in Beckham County her hand tied behind her back.
"For 25 years, you've endured hell we can't even understand. This crime, has not defined you. Your mother is not defined by how she died...She is defined by how you lived." Oklahoma County District Attorney, David Prater said as he tried to choke back tears.
Investigators and retired police officers close to the case were emotional; finally seeing justice for the family.
The break in this cold case came just three years ago when DNA was lifted from cigarette butts and a bottle from Kathy's car.
Eckardt was already in prison serving time for assault and battery and about to be released.
Eckardt entered an Alford plea, which means he admits there is enough evidence against him to convince a judge or jury to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
A conviction would have allowed for the possibility of the death penalty. Police say another man was involved in Kathy's abduction, but he died in a car wreck.