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  • Rod Kackley

Murder on Del Rio Drive: A Shocking True Crime Story

Forty years after she was murdered, there is finally justice for Cathleen Krauseneck. The Brighton, New York woman was discovered by local police officers, dead, killed by a “strike in the head with an ax while she slept,” according to a press release.

Cathleen and her daughter were home alone at the time, investigators said. Her husband, James, had gone to work.

Maybe somebody broke in, meaning to rob the place, but found Cathleen asleep in her bed. Police detectives said that was unlikely since jewelry and money were left in plain sight upstairs and downstairs.

Cathleen’s purse was also found near her body.

Of course, investigators reached out to the public and Cathleen’s neighbors. For a time, the Brighton P.D. received some tips. But eventually, new leads petered out, and the case went cold.

The neighborhood, too, moved on, according to what one woman told the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper, just six months after Cathleen’s body was found.

“We were talking the other day about how it (Cathleen’s murder) had not been solved,” she said. “I don’t think anybody will ever be caught.”

After the murder, Cathleen’s husband, James, traveled several times to his hometown of St. Clair, Michigan, with their young daughter, Sara.

For some reason, according to a Democrat and Chronicle newspaper report on July 18, 1982, the Brighton police never talked to James after he hired an attorney in Michigan.

“When he went back to Michigan, the attorney said we couldn’t talk to him without a lawyer being present,” explained Brighton Police Chief Eugene Shaw.

James Krauseneck also refused to talk to reporters in Brighton or anywhere else. His attorney said James would “prefer to be left alone like I think anybody else would in these circumstances.”

However, James did provide hair and saliva samples to investigators.

But, then, in 2015, Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley and investigators from her office re-opened the case. With the help of the Brighton Police Department, the FBI, the Monroe County, New York Crime Lab, and Dr. Michael Baden, they found the person who killed Cathleen.

The killer?

Maybe you’ve already guessed.

The murderer who took Cathleen’s life was none other than her husband, James.

Police said James took an ax from the couple’s garage and walked into their two-story colonial at 33 Del Rio Drive. Then he went to the master bedroom, where he used the weapon to kill his young wife.

James was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison on November 7.

However, James, age 70, is going to prison, proclaiming his innocence.

“I did not murder Cathy,” he said. “I loved Cathy with all my heart and with all my soul. I continue to be haunted by why someone would murder such a beautiful person.”

And get this: the couple’s daughter, Sara, told the court after her father was sentenced that she is convinced of his innocence.

Sara said that because her father was “convicted of a crime, he did not commit,” she has lost both parents.

“The justice system has failed my parents, myself, and both sides of my family,” Sara Krauseneck Young said. “It has also failed this community.”

Yet, Cathleen’s father, Robert Schlosser, said James brainwashed Sara.

“For 40 years, we’ve lost her love,” Schlosser told the court. “We still love you, Sara, and always will.”

He then said to James, “Jim, I hope you live to be 100 years old and enjoy your new home.”

Wow. This is, indeed, a Shocking True Crime Story!

(Sheriff Jim McDonald and convicted killer, Eva Dugan)

Before I let you go, I want to say “Thanks” to Dan Zupansky for featuring me on a recent episode of his outstanding true crime podcast, “True Murder: The Most Shocking Killers.”

As always, thanks for reading!



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