People Magazine Investigates spotlights the murder of Sherri Rasmussen, who was found beaten and shot to death in a case that took 20 years to solve.
February 24, 1986, in Van Nuys, California and Sherri Rasmussen was found dead in the apartment by her husband, John Ruetten. She’d been killed in a violent struggle that left her beaten, bitten and shot three times.
Detectives at first thought it was a burglary gone wrong as the BMW her husband had given her as engagement present was missing. Though her family thought that Ruetten’s ex-girlfriend Stephanie Lazarus might be responsible as she had been borderline stalker Rasmussen and was possibly having sexual relations with Ruetten.
Lazarus was also an LAPD cop and had turned up at Rasmussen’s office and told her “If I can’t have John, no one else will.”
However, it would be many years before any progress was made in the case. In 2009 detectives began looking at the murder again, partly due to some DNA testing that had shown the bite mark was made by a female and this make the burglary scenario unlikely.
Proceeding carefully the detectives managed to get a DNA sample from a cup Lazarus had left behind whilst out shopping and it matched that taken from the bite on Rasmussen’s arm.
They arranged her arrest and in March 2012 52-year-old Lazarus was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to 27 year to life, with parole possible in 2039.
People Magazine Investigates airs on Mondays at 10:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.
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