1991 Homicide Case In Florida, ID’d As A Hornell Woman

June 16, 2020

From The Monroe County Florida, Sheriff’s Dept:

Sheriff Rick Ramsay announces the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, working in conjunction with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has resolved and closed a decades old cold case homicide with the help of new DNA technology.

The body of an unidentified female victim was discovered on Feb. 15, 1991, in a wooded area off U.S. 1 near Mile Marker 35. The case became known as the “Valentine Jane Doe Homicide.” It drew national media attention, particularly on true crime television shows such as “Unsolved Mysteries,” to name only one. Sheriff’s Office Detectives, as well as other law enforcement agencies, investigated countless leads, yet the cold case remained unsolved for 29 years — until now.

The previously unknown female has now been identified as 18-year-old Wanda Deann Kirkum of Hornell, New York. It was determined after a national database search that Kikhum was never officially reported missing to law enforcement. Both her parents are now deceased.

Her killer has been identified as Robert Lynn Bradley, who himself died as the victim of a homicide in Tarrant County, Texas, in April 1992, at the age of 31.

Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit Detective Vince Weiner and the FDLE partnered using new advanced DNA technology, which assisted in identifying the victim as well as the suspect.

Bradley’s DNA was obtained from the 1991 crime scene in the Florida Keys. That DNA, as well as DNA from his own homicide scene, were recently compared at the FDLE crime lab and determined to be a match. The Texas investigation offered evidence that suggested Bradley had resided in Miami, Florida, in late November 1990.

Kirkum was seen hitchhiking out of Key West on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1991. Witnesses recalled seeing her northbound on U.S. 1 at Mile Marker 10 on Big Coppitt Key and again at Mile Marker 15. Kirkum was last seen at Mile Marker 17 still hitchhiking at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Her body was found by windsurfers the following day at approximately 8:15 a.m. off a dirt road that leads to an area known to locals as the “Horseshoe” east of Big Pine Key and west of Bahia Honda Key.

Kirkum was face down and nude, with the exception of her bikini top, with which she had been strangled. Her other clothes were found nearby. Forensic examination determined she had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled to death.

Numerous law enforcement officers and experts from partner agencies have participated in this homicide investigation over the previous decades. Countless investigative hours have been poured into trying to solve this crime. The Sheriff’s Office maintains more than 4,000 pages of investigative documentation. Now, with the victim and suspect identities known, the Sheriff’s Office is formally considering the “Valentine Jane Doe Homicide” resolved and closed.

“I would like to personally thank Major Crimes Unit Detective Vince Weiner and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their efforts in solving this very serious and tragic crime,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “This case is a testament and shining example of this agency’s commitment to solving crime, no matter how old the case and no matter the challenges.”