Midwest City Police get break in 18-year-old cold case

Police search Palma's home Tuesday.

Midwest City Police think they've had a break in an 18-year-old homicide case. On Tuesday FOX 25 learned more about the man police say kidnapped and murdered a young girl. 56-year-old Anthony Palma is now in police custody.

Kirsten Hatfield was kidnapped out of her bedroom window in her Midwest City home in 1997. That home is located on Jet Drive, near S.E. 15th and Air Depot Blvd. Police found her ripped panties with blood on them left on the window sill of her bedroom. She hasn't been heard from since and police never made an arrest until now.

"We want to take this opportunity to let all of our family and friends know that we're OK and please continue to pray for us," said Kirsten's step-father Chris Hazen.

Hazen along with Kirsten's mom Shannon say they're tired but hopeful this nightmare they've been living in for 18 years could soon be over.

"We have worked continuously on this case for 18 years," said Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes. "We're emotionally invested in this case."

Midwest City Police revealed in a press conference on Tuesday that DNA evidence links Palma to Kirsten's disappearance. The connection comes from evidence taken the day Kirsten was taken. Police kept cigarettes, a syringe, a beer bottle and blood found on both Kirsten's panties and her windowsill. Police say none of that evidence was DNA tested and could say why it wasn't.

"We're realizing more and more as technology advances, we see the ability to conduct more sensitive testing," said OSBI director Stan Florence.

With the DNA in hand, Midwest City Police tracked down at least ten men associated with the case and re-interviewed them and obtained their DNA samples. In July of 2015, the OSBI revealed the DNA from the scene and Palma's DNA matched. Police arrested Palma this past Monday night.

"This is the initial stage of this case," said Chief Clabes. "We have a lot more work to do in reference to this case."

Police are confident that Palma killed Kirsten, but her body has never been located. Her family is hoping that's the next step in this investigation.

"I wanted to say thank you to all the police, law enforcement that's helping solve this case because it's just been a terrible nightmare to my wife ever since it happened," Hazen said.

Palma will be tranported to the Oklahoma County Jail. He faces charges of kidnapping and first degree murder.

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