More than a quarter-century after Annette Thur’s beaten body was found down an embankment off Skyline Boulevard, a 49-year-old sex offender in Placerville was arrested for the teen’s kidnapping, rape and murder.
Sheriff’s deputies linked John William Kelley to the December 1986 death of Annette Thur, a 17-year-old Ben Lomand resident, after investigators reopened the case earlier this year and matched his DNA to that found at the scene.
Deputies arrested Kelley Wednesday at his Placerville home and brought him back to the Maguire Correctional Facility. Prosecutors will decide by late this morning whether to arraign him this afternoon on the charges.
Thur’s case sat cold for years because no viable suspects were identified after her body was found Dec. 6, 1986 just north of Alpine Road in unincorporated San Mateo County by a tourist taking in the view from Skyline Boulevard.
After attending a party in Boulder Creek earlier that day, Thur planned to hitchhike home, according to a Sheriff’s Office announcement.
Instead, she was sexually assaulted and beaten. Investigators interviewed "numerous” associates of Thur and others but no one was pinpointed as a suspect until Kelley was a DNA match after the county’s forensic labor took another look. The Sheriff’s Office said a subsequent interview of Kelley Wednesday established sufficient probable cause for an arrest but did not disclose further details.
Kelley is a registered sex offender who has lived in California and Oregon. He is not listed on the Megan’s Law website and the Sheriff’s Office did not release the nature of his prior offenses.
Kelley is in custody without bail.
Anyone with information about the crime or Kelley is asked to contact Detective Andy Armando at 363-4347 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Detective Matt Broad at 363-4363 or email@example.com. Callers may also use the Sheriff’s Office Anonymous Witness Line at (800) 547-2700.
Michelle Durand can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.