A six-year old girl, missing for just fifteen minutes, is found dead within yards of her home.
At the age of 6, Katherine Korzilius seemed to be leading a charmed life. She lived in a good neighborhood in Austin, Texas, with her loving parents, Nancy and Paul, and her brother Chris. Her father was a personal manager for rock star Jon Bon Jovi.
Nancy and Paul’s world came crashing down on August 7, 1996. It was Paul’s birthday. He was working at his office in New York City. Nancy and the kids had spent the day running errands around Austin, picking out a gift for him. According to Nancy:
On the way home, they stopped to pick up the mail. It was a ritual Katherine looked forward to. As usual, Katherine asked if she could walk home and Nancy said that would be fine. Nancy said she knew it was Katherine’s way of saying she was a big girl:
Nancy and Chris drove home one way, while Katherine walked home in the opposite direction, which was the shorter way home. Nancy said that both her children had made the same walk before:
Chris told his mother that he could not find Katherine at home. So Nancy told him to go out to the road to find her. According to Nancy:
The boy at the door said that he had not seen Katherine. It was at that moment that Nancy and Chris said they knew something terrible had happened. Minutes later, Nancy found Katherine’s body in the street:
Katherine’s father, Paul:
From the start, everyone assumed that Katherine was the victim of a hit-and-run driver. However, as police searched for the suspect, other disturbing theories began to surface. Katherine had left her mother’s car headed in one direction on Elder Circle, but less than ten minutes later she was found on the opposite side of the circle half a mile away. And the medical examiner’s report only deepened the mystery. He determined that Katherine had not died from a hit-and-run accident. According to R. Bavardo, the Medical Examiner of Travis County:
If Katherine did tumble from a moving vehicle, whose vehicle was it? And was she pushed or did she fall? Katherine’s father recalled a theory put forth by the authorities:
The Korzilius family was stunned. Was it possible that Nancy was responsible for her daughter’s death? Paul and Nancy hired their own private investigator, Barbara O’Brian. According to Barbara, that scenario was hard to believe:
The Korzilius family has their own theory. They believe their daughter was abducted and murdered. A search of a vacant, overgrown lot just 30 yards from the mailboxes may have provided a crucial clue. According to Barbara:
Nancy said that it seemed as though Katherine had been placed on the street deliberately:
After all the investigations and speculation, the cause of Katherine’s death remains a mystery. In the quiet neighborhood on Elder Circle, her memory lives on. Katherine’s neighbors have planted a tree and placed a plaque in her name. Family friend Jon Bon Jovi: