Kelly Ann Prosser: The Case That Remained Unsolved For 38 Years

(Kelly Ann Prosser. Picture credit:

The heartless murder of little 8 year old Kelly Ann Prosser in 1982 Columbus, Ohio deeply affected everyone in the local area as well as detectives working on the case. Kelly's heartbroken family were not alone in their grief as everyone joined them in their desperation to find her killer. All murder cases are horrific but the murder of an innocent young child just leaves an utter devastation which can never fully heal. 

Kelly was just walking home from school on the 20th of September 1982 when she was abducted. Her body was found two days later and an examination determined that the little girl had been viciously beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled. 

The news of Kelly's death and the circumstances in which she was found shocked and horrified not only her family and the local community but the investigators working on her case. What made things even more difficult was that there was no clear indication of who the suspect was, this was back in the days where everything was done on paper, they didn't have the advanced DNA techniques that we have today. 

Usually in murder cases dating back to the early 1980s and before, it was not uncommon for evidence to be lost or accidentally tampered with but luckily in this case the police did an amazing job of preserving every little piece of evidence they had. 

Sadly though, the police didn't have much to go on and years became decades and any leads that may have come through always came to nothing but still they refused to give up. 

In 2020 some cold case detectives thought it would be a good idea to put together a podcast dedicated to Kelly Ann's case in the hope that it would maybe bring some new information to the case and help jog someone's memory. As well as the podcast (which was named 'The 5th Floor'), investigators had begun working with Advanced DNA (a genealogy company) using the evidence from the 1982 crime scene. It was remarkable that with using these new amazing forensic techniques that they were able to trace a possible suspect.

Unfortunately the suspect, a man by the name of Harold Warren Jarrell had apparently passed away at the age of 67 in Las Vegas. Not letting this fact deter them, the investigators obtained DNA samples from his living relatives and the confirmation was made, Harold Warren Jarrell was responsible for the murder of Kelly Ann Prosser.

(Harold Warren Jarrell. Picture credit: thedenverchannel)

As the amazing breakthrough only took place in 2020 we are yet to know about who Harold Warren Jarrell really was. We know that he was a monster but we don't know how he died and so far his DNA has not been traced to any other crime. What we do know is that Harold had been convicted in 1977 for abducting another 8 year old girl and that he was released just 8 months before Kelly Ann's death. He was also said to have worked odd jobs whilst also working at a local radio station in Columbus during the 1970s and 1980s.

Was he married? did he have children? Nobody knows, Maybe these details will be revealed at a later date.

It's hard to imagine what it must have been like for the family having to wait all of those years and then to find out that the person responsible is deceased. It's like it's only part closure but one can imagine it would be understandable if there was anger there considering this monster managed to evade justice and die before he could be held accountable for his sickening and evil actions. 

I have included the police press conference together with other news articles below that you may find informative. 

The family of Kelly Ann Prosser released a public statement upon hearing the news that the police had finally confirmed the identity of Kelly Ann's killer. 

''For over 38 years our family has spoken for the one who was silenced and who's young life was cut short...Kelly Ann Prosser. When Kelly Ann left for school the morning of September 20th 1982, we did not expect our time with her would abruptly end or that our future would change in every way imaginable. One moment we had this dazzling, mischievous 8 year old little girl, then suddenly all we had left were memories, photographs that will never age, a calendar marking a dreadful new ''holiday'', a grave and pieces of Kelly's life stored in a box''.

''Our family has spent many long years waiting on Kelly Ann's murder to be solved, but Kelly's family is not unique. Those who have suffered the murder of their loved one knows how devastating waiting for answers can be. Nor are we the only family who has laid awake at night hoping and praying that their missing child would return home safely''.

''Today is one of those bittersweet moments that has been a long time coming. Our family is blessed to have finally got an answer, after nearly four decades on who abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered our darling Kelly Ann''.

''While new technology, advanced investigative techniques and other factors have been an undeniable part of solving this homicide case. The real credit goes to all the state, federal and partnering law enforcement agencies who showed tenacity, dedication and tremendous team work in solving Kelly Ann's case. There are no words to express how deeply our gratitude extends to all of you''. 

''We would like to specially recognise the many Columbus Division police homicide detectives who have worked countless hours on this case trying to find Kelly's perpetrator to hold that individual accountable for her murder. Most recently this has been Detective Dana Croom, Sergeant Terry McDonnell and retired Detectives Ron Coster and James McCoskey. Officer Greg Colarich also contributed by developing a podcast about Kelly Ann's case. Gentlemen - thank you for never giving up. Thank you''. 

- Statement from Kelly Ann Prosser's family, 

The tireless efforts of investigators who never gave up in this case is extraordinary and we really are lucky in this day and age that we have these advanced forensic techniques which have also seen the likes of The Golden State Killer case being solved.

My heart goes out to Kelly Ann and her family and my utmost admiration for the people who worked so hard on this case.

Let us hope that we see more of these cold cases being solved to help bring some kind of closure to these families who are continuing to suffer and to finally catch and bring to justice the monsters who commit these crimes. 

I'm hoping that Netflix or Amazon pick up this story because this is a story that needs to be told. Kelly Ann should be celebrated for who she was and the people who gave their all for this case should stand up and be counted. 

RIP Kelly Ann x 

Further Reading & Sources:

Thank you for taking the time to read my latest case, see you in the next one x 


  1. Jean-Nicolas30 May 2021 at 21:03
    True crime cases about young child being murdered are the saddest. This is so sad, so heartbreaking. There is no word to describe the monster who did this. In the 80’s, these horrendous crimes seems to be more frequent (it’s my opinion, I don’t know the statistics).

    Obviously back then, they didn’t have the advancing techniques that we have today. I think that some monsters take advantage of the situation back in the days.

    This is so amazing what the detective was able to accomplished with his podcast and also all the work from the investigators.

    To bad that Harold Warren Jarrell has never been convicted but at least, he as been unmasked!!!

    I’m so angry that he was convicted in 1977 but then was released. Ugh ! It was happening too many times back then ! The family statement was heartbreaking but beautiful. I’m so glad that they found some sort of closure.

    Rest In Peace Kelly Ann Xxx

    1. Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to read the post. I really do appreciate it x