Missouri seeks new look at unsolved campus murder
Friday, January 6, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Seven years after a University of Missouri microbiology professor was stabbed and stuffed into the trunk of his car, which was then set on fire, campus police are asking a multistate law enforcement organization to help in the investigation.
Jeong Im, 72, was found dead in his car in campus parking garage on Jan. 7, 2005. In the seven years since the murder, university police have enlisted help from other agencies, including the Mid-Missouri Major Case Squad and a homicide expert, with no success.
Now, the Mid-States Organized Crime Information Center in Springfield has been asked to look into Im’s death, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported Thursday (http://bit.ly/xDCu3t ). The organization is one of six regional centers that help local police agencies solve major crimes.
“We want to give it another set of eyes,” said campus police chief Jack Watring.
Im, a protein chemist and microbiologist, immigrated to the United States from Korea four decades ago. He received a doctorate from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and subsequently worked at six other American universities before joining the Missouri faculty in 1987.
Im’s family moved to California after his death, but Watring said the department regularly keeps in touch with his wife, Tesuk. Former professor Henry Liu, a vocal advocate who kept pressure on police to solve the case, died in a car crash in 2009.
But Watring said his officers didn’t need outside pressure to continue investigating the case because it is a cloud hanging over the department.
“Our guys want to solve it so bad,” he said.
A $25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.
The department has a rough sketch of a person who might be connected to the case. It shows a slender white man, between 6 feet and 6-feet-2 inches tall with brown wavy hair who was wearing a painter’s or drywall mask in the area of the parking garage the day Im was killed.
Police found an Old Hickory kitchen knife with an 8-inch blade at the scene. Investigators also are looking for the owner or driver of a faded red 1980s model Ford F-150 pickup spotted near the crime scene.
“If anybody has any information — no matter how small or minor they think it is — if they were in the area that day and saw or heard anything, please call us,” Watring said.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com