Those who have lived in the Twin Cities for a couple of decades may remember the name Holly Spangler, the Wisconsin native who was murdered in a Bloomington park 20 years ago this month.
It's a case that's still open and unsolved, but Bloomington police say they haven't received a tip in years. In fact, the 20-year mark might have passed unnoticed if it hadn't been for one of Holly Spangler's former co-workers, who reached out to FOX 9 News and police. '
Holly Spangler has now been dead longer than she was alive. She was only 19 when she went for a walk along the paths in of Moir Park along Nine Mile Creek, but she didn't make it out alive.
Candlelight vigils were held, and a sketch of a suspect was released. Yet, despite a mother's open anguish, binders of evidence and interviews, Cmdr. Kevin Herman says it hasn't brought detectives close enough to her killer.
"They're everything from, 'My neighbor is creepy," to "You know, this could be my ex-husband" to calls from psychics," Herman told FOX 9 News. "They run the gambit."
Spangler died from a single stab wound to the chest, and there were no obvious signs of sexual assault. Police discovered her body three days after she was killed, and it suffered a lot of decomposition. There was little physical evidence found nearby.
Investigators reopened the case in 2006 to use new forensic techniques on the old evidence, but Herman said the only result was a larger case file that was no closer to an arrest.
So, detectives began looking at other cases with similarities. Theresa Johnson was also stabbed to death in her Bloomington condo two years before Spangler was killed. That case also remains unsolved.
Police also looked into the death of Katie Poirer. She was abducted from a Moose Lake convenience store and later killed in 1999.
"We've talked to Donald Blom, who was responsible for the Katie Poirer murder," Herman said.
Detectives learned that Blom was living in Bloomington in 1993 -- the year Spangler was murdered -- under the name Donald Pince and often walked through Moir Park. When they flew to a federal prison in Pennsylvania where Blom was doing time, they found a man who wanted to bargain but not tell the truth. In fact, a lie detector test proved inconclusive.
"He's very manipulative," Herman told FOX 9 News. "Didn't give us a straight answer on anything."
After all these years, the case continues to haunt the Bloomington Police Department because their old police station was located right next to Moir Park.
Another reason the case stands out through the years is that homicide is rare in Bloomington. The city sees about one a year, and only two in the past 20 years are unsolved -- Holly Spangler's and Theresa Johnson's. Blom remains a suspect in both.