Murder in the Heartland examines the particularly disturbing killing of college student Kalee Bruce – spelled as Kaylee Bruce in some reports – who Kevin Holtzer murdered in 1998.
Bruce was an 18-year-old freshman studying at Northwest Michigan College and working as a clerk at the Beach Condominiums when she was savagely beaten and stabbed to death by resident Holtzer.
On the morning of February 17, 1998, a maintenance supervisor discovered the remains of Bruce at the office where she worked. She had suffered 19 stab wounds along with blunt-force injuries to the torso, chest, abdomen, and pelvis, and extensive internal bleeding.
Additional injuries to Bruce included a fractured skull and neck injuries which indicated she had been strangled. The killer had also driven a metal rod, using probably a mallet, into her causing massive internal injuries.
Evidence pointed to Kevin Holtzer as the killer
The cops found the scene to be particularly bloody, but this helped reveal their first clue; bloody footprints throughout the crime scene, which clearly showed the type of boot worn by the killer. Holtzer was known to wear a pair of these boots to work, but he had stopped wearing them after February 17.
The investigators also found a tire valve core, an item commonly found at the Tire Factory store where Holtzer worked. The valve cores regularly got stuck in employees’ footwear.
A few weeks later, Holtzer tried to flee the state. He bought an Amtrak ticket under a false name for Carbondale, Indiana; however, the FBI intercepted and arrested him at Chicago.Watch the Latest on our YouTube Channel
In the meantime, investigators were able to gather more evidence. They found hairs at the crime scene and in Holtzer’s bedroom, which were a match. DNA analysis found the hairs belonged to Holtzer and Bruce.
Holtzer was charged and ultimately convicted of the murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
More from Murder in the Heartland
Follow the links to read about more murders in America’s heartland.
Thomas Blake had openly spoken and written his journal about having a thirst for killing people, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he brutally strangled his girlfriend, Christina Ross, to death.
David Malinski was a physical therapist from Valparaiso, Indiana, who developed an unhealthy obsession with his colleague Lorainne “Lori” Kirkley. Malinski abducted the nurse from her home and then tortured and murdered her.
Murder in the Heartland airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.