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Charlie Keever

Charles “Charlie” Allen Keever (1980 - March 27, 1993) was a 13 year old boy who was murdered on March 27, 1993, in San Diego County, California, along with his friend, 9 year old Jonathan Sellers. The murder of both boys was solved via a DNA match after a delay of 8 years.

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The murder

Charlie was the youngest of three children. His father and two grandparents died before Charlie's murderer was discovered.

On Saturday March 27, 1993, Charlie and Alton Williams (age 13 at the time, and Jonathan’s elder brother) decided to spend the day bike riding. However, a last minute change of plan had Alton staying behind and Jonathan going with Charlie instead. Jennifer, Jonathan’s twin sister, also wanted to go along but Jonathan said he didn’t want a girl tagging along so she remained at home. Around noon, Jonathan and Charlie departed on their 20-inch royal-blue bicycles and went to Rally's restaurant (a local fast food place) in the Palm City neighborhood of San Diego. Afterwards, they went to a nearby pet store and played with some of the dogs and cats, chatting with the manager and customers. After leaving the pet store the boys were not seen alive again.[1] [2]

Police surmise that somewhere along their bike ride the boys were lured or went to a make-shift igloo-like fort made out of brush along the Otay River in Palm City where they were molested and killed.

On Monday March 29, 1993, Charlie and Jonathan's bodies were discovered by a bike rider 10 yards from their bikes in overgrown brush on the west bank of the Otay River. Charlie was on the ground, his head on top of his and Jonathan’s clothing. His genitals were bloody and showed extensive bite marks, the autopsy report concluded he was alive when the bite marks were inflicted on him. Tissue samples found in Charlie’s mouth eventually proved to contain the killer's DNA.

After the crime remained unsolved for some time, Charlie’s mother, Maria Keever, chose to assume the role of a private investigator on the case. She obtained a handgun, dressed as a homeless person, and then eventually lead police to her choice of suspect whom police then exonerated.

Crime solved via DNA

In March 2001, a DNA database identified Scott Erskine as a suspect based on the DNA found at the scene of the murder. Erskine was already in prison for a rape committed six months after the boys' murders. In 2003, Erskine went to trial on the charges of two counts of murder with the special allegations of sodomy, oral copulation, child molestation and torture and three counts of special circumstances: torture, sexual assault, and multiple murders; he was found guilty. During the penalty phase, one juror did not want to give Erskine the death penalty, so the judge declared a mistrial for the penalty phase portion of the trial and so, In April 2004, a new jury convened voted unanimously for the death penalty. On September 1, 2004, a California judge sentenced Erskine to death row and he was sent to San Quentin State Prison.[3]

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