First-Degree Murder Charges Filed in 23-Year-old Cold Case

Tuesday, August 4th 2009, 11:36 am
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - For 23 years a metro family has been wondering if the person who kidnapped and killed their loved one would ever be brought to justice. Now they have an answer. Today a man was charged with the murder.

On April 23, 1986 41-year-old Kathy Engle was abducted by two men in the Shepherd Mall parking lot. Now investigators believe they have one of the suspects, and they didn't have to look far to find him.

"It is impossible for us to thank each and every person who has offered us support over the years," Dawson Engle, Kathy's husband, said.

Kathy's vehicle was discovered in New Mexico the day after her abduction. A week later her nude body was found in Sayre in Beckham County with her hands tied behind her back.

Now police say 44-year-old Kyle Richard Eckardt is responsible for the murder. They were able to link Eckardt to the crime from DNA left in the victim's vehicle.

Eckardt is already in an Oklahoma prison serving time for an assault and battery in Tulsa. He was due to be released at the end of the month.

"We wanted to make sure that we had our case tied up and ready to be filed by this time so we could go ahead and advise the department of corrections to avoid his release," Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

At the time of her murder Kathy Engle's children, Kristine and Dawson were just 8 and 13-years-old respectively.

"Because of my age, my memory is very fragmented," Kathy's daughter Kristine Ervin said. "I don't have a full memory of her or the thing that happened during that time."

"She was really good, very creative, she could make things and my book reports were always elaborate," Kathy's son Dawson Engle said.

The children say she made them what they are today. Dawson is a judge in Shawnee. Kristine just got her doctorate and is a college professor in Houston.

As for the man now charged with killing their mother, Eckardt has denied any involvement in Kathy Engle's murder.

"He values nothing that we do so there's nothing to say to him," Kathy's son Dawson said.

Police are still looking for a second suspect in the case. If you know who the person may be, call Oklahoma City Police or the district attorney's office.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.