• Carolyn Heckert, a Kansas City real estate agent, was charged with the 1989 murder of Sarah DeLeon.
  • DeLeon, who was eighteen at the time of her death, had been dating Heckert's ex-boyfriend.
  • New DNA evidence provided police with enough to finally charge Heckert. She's also under investigation for the 1994 murder of another woman, Diana Ault.
Heckert

Carolyn Heckert’s mugshot.

A 27-year-old cold case murder has just seen new activity — and a real estate agent has been arrested as the perpetrator.

On Oct. 19, Carolyn Heckert was charged with premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Sarah DeLeon. Heckert’s bond was set at $1 million.

In 1989, a train crew found DeLeon’s body along railroad tracks near Interstate 435 in Kansas City, Missouri. According to a report by The Kansas City Star, DeLeon had multiple stab wounds, but her abandoned Ford Mustang had no signs of blood or a struggle with her murderer.

According to DeLeon’s mother, Gail Elieson, Heckert had always been at the top of the list of suspects. Her daughter had been dating Heckert’s ex-boyfriend, Matt Utland, at the time of her death.

Although the motive was there, there was never enough evidence to charge Heckert until May of this year, when police found a connection between DeLeon’s death and the death of another woman, Diana Ault, in 1994. Heckert was allegedly having an affair with Ault’s husband.

In addition to the Ault case, Heckert was suspected in a 1987 “abduction by deception” case where an unnamed woman was tricked into leaving her home in a limousine that took her to a hotel near an interstate.

Heckert has not been charged in the Diana Ault case, but the Ault family says Diana was being harassed and bullied by Heckert and an accomplice before her death.

Police reported in May that they had identified a suspect in the DeLeon case and that “the suspect and an accomplice have been involved in other incidents involving the harassment and intimidation of romantic rivals.”

New DNA evidence provided police with enough to identify Heckert as the probable perpetrator and arrest her.

Email Marian McPherson

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