Stearns County to re-examine unsolved double murder case

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Stearns County investigators are taking a new look at one of Minnesota's most notorious murder mysteries, the unsolved case of two St. Cloud girls killed 42 years ago.
The Reker sisters walked out of their home in 1974 to buy school supplies. It was the last time their mother saw them alive.

"Considering the condition of Mary and Suzanne's bodies, they didn't even fight back. Someone just stabbed them to death, " Rita Reker said.

The girls were found three weeks later in a quarry outside of St. Cloud.

No one's ever been charged with their murders.


But the Jacob Wetterling case is proof that a fresh look at old evidence can matter.

Advances in DNA testing gave investigators the break that ultimately led them to Danny Heinrich, Jacob's killer.

Chief Deputy of the Stearns County Sheriff's office, Bruce Bechtold said they are looking at the case like it is brand new.

"We haven't done any DNA analysis on any of the evidence we have for six, seven years," said Bechtold.

Among the items to be re-tested at the state’s crime lab are the clothes of Mary and Sue.

Stearns County is also putting additional investigators on the case.

They're going through the files and making an outline of things to follow up on.

"Profilers tell us they feel it was somebody very young and my own feeling is that this person had an accomplice," Reker said. "I don't think anyone could do this by themself."

Last week, the family met with investigators and gave them names of people who've never been interviewed, but might know something.


In September, the Fox 9 Investigators profiled another crime with striking similarities to the Reker murders.

The story helped to generate calls from the public.

"We've got several leads from that," said Bechtold

It happened in 1976, almost two years to the day after the girls bodies were found.

Sue Dukowitz, 14, a clerk at a St. Cloud convenience store, was kidnapped at gun point by two teenaged boys.

She was taken to a gravel pit outside of town and sexually assaulted.

One of the boys then pulled out a knife and stabbed her.

One of the teenagers involved spoke with Fox 9, agreeing to an interview as long as his identity was not revealed.

They thought Dukowitz was dead and left her body covered with brush, but she survived and gave police a description of her kidnappers.
Herb Notch, who was 17 at the time, admitted to the stabbing and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

"He had no remorse at all, none, like hitting a bug on your windshield," said the other teen who was with Notch. "I think he did it because he liked it."

A  court ordered psychiatric evaluation described Notch as having a "fearlessly savage quality. In the right situation, a homicidal individual...who seems to lack any significant remorse..."

Notch served ten years and was released, but continued to add to his rap sheet, including a conviction for holding a woman against her will at knife point.

When contacted by the Fox 9 Investigators about the Reker case Notch said, "Let me tell you something. Don't bother me any f-ing more."

"I would say it’s a short list of people that have been on the radar for a number of years," said Bechtold.

He would not say if Notch was on that list.


Reker is now in her 80s and hopeful the new attention on the case will finally bring justice.

"I think there are plenty of people who know. We need to have that person come forward," she said.

Investigators believe the person or persons responsible are still alive. If you have any information call Stearns County Sheriff at (320)251-4240 or Tri-County Crime Stoppers at (320)255-1301.

Officials stress that even if what you know seems minor, it might be the clue that solves this crime.

RELATED: Reker murders: connection or coincidence?