Real Name: Katherine Erin Korzilius
Case: Suspicious Death
Location: Austin, Texas
Date: August 7, 1996
Details: Katherine Korzilius was born in 1989. She was the six-year-old daughter of Paul Korzilius, the tour manager for Jon Bon Jovi. She lived with her family in Elder Circle, a small neighborhood near Austin, Texas. On August 7, 1996, she, her mother, Nancy, and her brother, Chris, went out to run errands. It was also Paul's birthday, so they picked up a present for him as well. When they arrived in Elder Circle, Nancy allowed Katherine to pick up their mail at the community mailbox near their house and then walk home. She would take the shorter route while Nancy and Chris would drive the longer route around Elder Circle. However, after a few minutes passed and she had not returned, Nancy asked Chris to go look for her.
When Chris was unable to find Katherine, Nancy got into her car and they began to search for her. Within minutes, they found her, lying on the road in Elder Circle. Nancy noticed that she was unconscious but still breathing. She decided that she would pick her up and drive her to the hospital. She had suffered a fractured skull; she never regained consciousness and died later that day.
From the start, everyone assumed that Katherine had been the victim of a hit-and-run accident. However, her family did not understand why she was found in that part of Elder Circle. Nancy last saw her walking towards their home. However, her body was found along the route that Nancy and Chris had driven home, half a mile from the mailbox. This was the opposite direction that she was supposed to have gone.
The medical examiner's report seemed to deepen the mystery: he determined that Katherine had not died from a hit-and-run accident. In addition to the head injury, he found abrasions on her left shoulder, the small of her back, her right hip, and her knees. He believed that she had either jumped, fallen, or was thrown from a moving vehicle. One theory proposed by investigators was that she had tried to hold on to the back of Nancy's car on the ride home but had fallen off. This would explain where her body was found in Elder Circle.
However, Katherine's family does not believe this theory. They hired private investigator Barbara O'Brian; she noted that since it was a hot August day, it would have been difficult for Katherine to hold on to the back of Nancy's car. There were only two places for her to hold onto: a bar on the top and the back door handle. However, the back door would have opened if she held onto the handle. Also, her left thumb was broken and in a splint, which would have made it difficult for her to hold onto anything. Finally, Nancy should have been able to see her in the rearview mirror.
Katherine's family instead believes that she was abducted and murdered. A vacant lot about thirty yards from the mailbox may have provided a clue. A few days after her death, investigators brought in the K-9 unit which picked up her scent in the lot. It was lost after the lot. This suggests that she was walking in that direction when she may have been abducted. Nancy also noted that when she found her body, it appeared that she had been "laid out" for her to find. Her hair was smoothed down, her shirt was straight, her shorts were straight, her toes were pointed straight, and her sandals were kept on.
A year later, Katherine's neighbors in Elder Circle planted a tree and placed a plaque in her name. Her family hopes that someone will come forward to give new information; as of yet, no suspects have been found or identified in this case.
Suspects: Nancy is considered a possible suspect in that Katherine may have grabbed on to her car while it was in motion and fallen off at the point where she was found in Elder Circle. However, her family has found evidence that points away from this theory.
Katherine's family believes that she was abducted in the vacant lot near the mailbox. They believe she either jumped, fell out, or was thrown from the abductor's vehicle.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 22, 1998 episode.
The incident was immortalized by singer Jon Bon Jovi in the song "August 7, 4:15", the date and time of Katherine's death. Her father, Paul, now is a board member for Jon Bon Jovi's foundation.
- Katherine Korzilius on Unsolved.com
- Origin of August 7, 4:15
- August 7, 4:15 on Wikipedia
- The Strange Death of Katherine Korzilius
- Katherine Korzilius Articles on SitcomsOnline
- Katherine Korzilius on Find a Grave