CARSON CITY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Editor's note: some of the details of this story are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.
CARSON CITY, Nev. - A Carson City cold case detective hopes DNA will help solve a decades-old double murder. The case was reopened in September of 2018 after the discovery of similarities between the northern Nevada crime and the rapes and murders committed by the so-called Golden State Killer.
It's been nearly 35 years since Jean and Ray Amspacker were found dead in Carson City's former Westerner Motel.
"They were strangled. They were bound and strangled and laying side by side," said Ed Heddy, a former investigator in Carson City and Las Vegas who is now volunteering to look into this cold case.
The married couple had been managing the motel for several weeks when their bodies were discovered on the morning of June 17, 1984.
The victims' hands were tied behind their back with shoelaces and the killer had strangled the Amspackers with a pillow case.
"They strangled them by taking the pillow case off the pillow, ripped it in half, and then strangled them," said Heddy.
Heddy says he worked as a major crimes investigator for the Carson City Sheriff's Office when the gruesome discovery was made.
Inside the room where the victims were found face down on the floor, there were no signs of a struggle. Photos of the crime scene show the bed was made and the room was tidy. However, money had been taken from the cash drawer in the front office.
Over the years, Heddy says investigators looked into several people of interest. But, a suspect was never identified and the investigation was met with dead ends.
Heddy, now retired, decided to take on this case after hearing about the arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer. He says there are similarities between the California murders and the Carson City double murder he could not ignore, including how the Golden State Killer tied up their victims.
"He would bind their hands behind their back and he would use shoe string," said Heddy. "Very unique."
Heddy also says the killer in the Carson City murders used a unique knot to tie the victims hands behind their back. He says the knot could be a key piece of evidence that helps identify the killer.
The volunteer detective notes another similarity, saying the Golden State Killer was known to tear sheets and towels and use them in various ways during their crimes.
Heddy is also hoping new forensic technology will crack the case.
Last month he says he sent evidence to the Washoe County Crime Lab in hopes DNA could be extracted.
"I sent the ligature, which is the pillow case, and the shoe strings," said Heddy.
He hopes to find out within the next month if the pillow case and shoe strings have DNA evidence on them.
If not, he says he has more evidence he's hoping the crime lab can examine for forensics.
Heddy is optimistic new technology will help him solve the mystery of who killed Jean and Ray Amspacker.
"The best possible outcomes is to identify the suspect and get an arrest and conviction," said Heddy.