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Public help sought in 1976 slaying of singer's ex

Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives on Tuesday asked the public's help in solving the 1976 rape and killing of the ex-wife of The Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley.Karen Klaas was attacked Jan. 30, 1976, as she returned to her home in Hermosa Beach, a quiet community on the shore of Santa Monica Bay.Raped and strangled with her pantyhose, the 32-year-old never regained consciousne
/ Source: The Associated Press

Los Angeles County sheriff's homicide detectives on Tuesday asked the public's help in solving the 1976 rape and killing of the ex-wife of The Righteous Brothers singer Bill Medley.

Karen Klaas was attacked Jan. 30, 1976, as she returned to her home in Hermosa Beach, a quiet community on the shore of Santa Monica Bay.

Raped and strangled with her pantyhose, the 32-year-old never regained consciousness and died in a hospital a few days later.

Two witnesses spotted the suspected killer leaving the house. The shaggy-haired, bearded man in a trench coat and blue jeans was never seen again.

Authorities recently reactivated the case. The beach town has only about one homicide every five years, Hermosa police Lt. Tom Thompson said, and Klaas' slaying remains its longest enduring mystery.

In the 1990s, technology had advanced to where detectives could get a DNA profile of Klaas' killer, but it hasn't matched anyone in the national DNA database. Such matches have been responsible for recent breaks in high-profile cases including an arrest in a serial killing case and the arrest of a Los Angeles police detective accused of killing a woman in 1986.

Investigators have re-interviewed everyone from the original Klaas files in hopes of triggering a memory, but so far have come up blank, homicide Sgt. Tom Harris said.

"We start all over ... see if we can identify people that hadn't been contacted before," Harris said.

Klaas had been married to Medley, half of the duo best known for "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" and "Unchained Melody".