One day after Ryan Fergusonâ??s release from prison, Columbia police released a statement saying they will continue to follow up on any new leads or information in the 2001 Kent Heitholt murder case.
Columbia police investigators would not make any further comments.
A Mizzou law professor said it will be difficult to solve this 12 year old crime.
Professor Rod Uphoff teaches a wrongful convictions class at the MU Law School and said the murder investigation of Kent Heitholt is a case too cold to solve. He said police solve most cold cases by matching crime scene DNA with a suspect. DNA evidence at the Heitholt murder scene did not match Ryan Ferguson or his accuser Chuck Erickson.
Uphoff said, â??The only other way that they are likely to solve it is if somebody actually confesses to a friend, to a spouse, to a priest or to somebody and actually admits that they were involved in the murder.â??
Erickson confessed he was involved in the Heitholt murder and thatâ??s what Uphoff said will keep Erickson behind bars. Erickson is serving a 25 year sentence in a Missouri prison. Before recanting his testimony, Erickson said he confessed to the brutal slaying of Heitholt because his conscience demanded it and the victimâ??s family deserved justice.
Uphoff said, â??His confession still stands. Itâ??s going to be hard to get the court to allow him to withdraw his plea. Itâ??s very unlikely to happen.â??
Ryan Ferguson and his family are fighting for Ericksonâ??s freedom. They say Ericksonâ??s confession was the result of his imagination and manipulation by prosecutors.
The Fergusons are still offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can help find the person or persons responsible for the murder of Kent Heitholt. Columbia police continue to search for new leads.