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News: Kristin's Murderer Formally Charged
Published Oct 17, 2006

The InvestigationMurderer is charged in '00 death at rest stop


Posted on Saturday, May 13, 2006


MORRILTON — Prosecutors charged convicted killer Ronald James Ward with first-degree murder, saying he raped and stabbed 25-year-old Kristin Laurite to death as she exercised her dogs at a rest stop here on an August afternoon six years ago.

Because he was not charged with the more serious crime of capital murder, Ward would not face the death penalty.

Prosecuting Attorney Tom Tatum Jr. said at a news conference Friday morning that he did not think he had 'sufficient evidence" to prove all the elements of capital murder but he feels confident about the case.

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News: Related Article About Kristin's Murderer
Published Jul 29, 2005

The InvestigationArticle By Amy Upshaw and Jim Brooks

The Democrat-Gazette

MORRILTON — Investigators say a father of six who was born to a prostitute has been linked by genetic evidence to the 2000 rest-stop killing of Kristin Laurite , as well as to the unsolved deaths of two women in California.

The man, 39-year-old Ronald James Ward, was sentenced in June 2001 to life in prison in Montana for murdering a male acquaintance there for money. Ward has not been charged in the deaths of Laurite or the other women, and as of Friday afternoon, Ward had not been told of the reported DNA match, Conway County Sheriff Mark Flowers said.

"This case is far from over," Flowers said at a news conference in Morrilton on Friday morning. "We've still got a lot of work to do."

For one thing, investigators must prove that Ward was in Arkansas when Laurite was murdered. He was not a suspect until this month, when a California crime laboratory linked his DNA to the genetic material left at the crime scenes in the cases of Laurite and a California woman.

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News: Update from Kristin's Mother
Published Jul 23, 2005

The InvestigationMy family and I are relieved and comforted that a suspect has been apprehended and incarcerated. We will be trully saddened if other people have suffered the same fate as Kristin.

We are grateful to know that this suspected predator can no longer take another life. Although this is the day we have long awaited, it opens the deep wounds with renewed intensity.

We are sincerely appreciative to all law enforment officals involved in my daughters case. Clive Keeling, who sadly passed away, was the first detective on the case. He showed profound compassion for our family and took a personal interest in Kristin's case.

Most notably, I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Sergeant Mark Hollingsworth, with the ASP, who has worked diligently and tirelessly for the past four years in pursuit of Kristin's killer. I credit Sgt. Hollingsworth for his extraordinary determination, dedication and persistence in locating this suspected serial murderer.

Lastly, I want to give my genuine thanks to the media who have kept my daughter's story alive.

Thank you - we look forward to justice being served.

Lynn Dibenedetto (Kristin's Mother), and Family

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News: Kristin Laurite (born: 1/28/75, Taken too soon from the Earth: 8/25/00)
Published Feb 03, 2003

MiscellaneousDear Friends and family,

     This is to remember Kristin's 28th Birthday while our family still fights to find her killer.

     This year we were all horrified to discover Kristin's Killer had also murdered Merced, California resident, Jackie Travis in December of 2000.

     Both cases remain active to date and furthermore, we are glad that both the Arkansas (ASP) and California State Police(CSP) have joined forces in tracking this murderer down. The ASP has sought the advice of John Douglas, a world renown profiler, which has further helped to intensify the investigation.

     Sometime in march (tba), America's Most Wanted, will feature an update on both murders. Also in march, the San Francisco Chronicle will be dedicating a Sunday magazine piece on Krisin and Jackie's Murders. The estimated date of print is March 9th, 2003. Most Barnes and Nobles, and Borders will carry it.
     Our Family would like to thank all of you for your continued help and interest. We are grateful for all of your support and assistance no matter how seemingly small.

     We will find this killer and make certain he cannot harm anyone else.

     Happy Birthday Kristin. We know you are dancing in the Heavans! Let us all celebrate the time that she shared with us on Earth.

Happy Birthday Kristin -- We Love and Miss You.

In appreciation,
Kristin's Family

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News: Dallas Morning News article on Kristin
Published Feb 03, 2003

The InvestigationFamily seeks clues in woman's death

'We won't rest until the killer is found'


By SUZI PARKER / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The young woman looks out from the billboard along Interstate 40 west of here.

"Do you know who murdered me?" reads the headline on the billboard, one of two in the area.

So far nobody has answered, but the family of Kristin Laurite keeps hoping.

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