SALT LAKE CITY – A children’s toy has provided a break in an unsolved murder mystery that haunted a Utah police force for more than two decades.
For 23 years, the Unified Police Department did not know who killed 78-year-old Lucille Johnson, but a fingerprint on a Lego helped them solve the case.
KSTU reports that Johnson was found beaten to death inside her Holladay home in 1991. Police recovered some Legos at the crime scene, but did not realize the toy was a vital piece of evidence in the brutal murder.
Unified police announced Thursday they had cracked the cold case and charged John Sansing with the murder.
“While in that home, it is clear Mr. Sansing bludgeoned Lucille to death, leaving his 5-year-old apparently in the living room of the home to play with Legos,” Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said at a news conference Thursday. “On those Legos were the fingerprints of Mr. Sansing’s juvenile son.”
Police have not revealed a motive for the murder, but say jewelry was missing from Johnson’s home.
Sansing is already on death row for a murder in Arizona where police say his children were also present for that crime.
Police will push for Sansing to be extradited to Utah to face aggravated murder charges.
Additionally, Unified police said they are investigating any possible connections between Sansing and some other unsolved murders.