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Exclusive: Lucile Miner Johnson’s murder unlocked with Legos on Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris

Tonight on Investigation Discovery’s Scene of the Crime, Tony Harris works with Salt Lake City Police to crack a several decades old cold case murder with the help of a child’s toy, a Lego.

The gruesome and random murder of 78-year-old Lucile Miner Johnson, a grandmother in Salt Lake City, had left police puzzled back when it occurred back in 1991.

After two decades, justice for the murdered Lucile Johnson is just a DNA test away as SOTC host Tony Harris, an investigative journalist and former news anchor for CNN and Al Jazeera, investigates the odd and unsettling clues.

Sgt. Mike Ikemiyashiro, Tony Harris
Sgt. Mike Ikemiyashiro and Tony Harris examine the evidence left from Lucile Johnson’s murder

Harris works with Sgt. Mike Ikemiyashiro, aka “Mike Ike” as he takes Tony into the evidence locker hold. Sgt. Mike shows the victim, Lucile Johnson’s personal effects, including her shoes, and her shirt. Seeing this evidence, Tony remarks the first thing he truly notices is “the blood.”

About the case

In 1991, Lucile Miner Johnson was found bludgeoned to death in her Holladay, Utah home. According to police reports, she was found dead by her daughter the very next day, and her body had been battered and her bloodied face was covered with a pillow.

Lucille Johnson
Lucille was found beaten to death, the telling clue? A Lego

Interestingly, the crime scene had several Legos scattered all about the corpse in the living room.

At the time, the Legos were an insignificant detail to the police yet they were gathered up as part of the crime scene evidence. Despite the Legos being an unimportant piece of evidence at the time, it turned out that they were yet another small and insignificant detail that blew open the doors for the investigators to piece together what actually happened to the unfortunate and unwitting victim, Ms. Johnson.

As Harris works over the details with Sgt. Mike Ikemmiyashiro in our exclusive clip, it is clear that these Legos are in fact a key to solving her murder.

Detectives will surmise that somehow the murderer got access inside of Ms. Johnson’s home, and also had a child with him. The child apparently touched the Legos and in doing so left a tell-tale fingerprint for detectives to find all these years later.

The end result

After John Sansing’s DNA was found all over the crime scene, the Utah detectives believed that Sansing had used his then five-year-old son to get inside Lucile Johnson’s house and then kill her.

The events unfolded almost simultaneously in a horrific happenstance, as detectives believed that the child played in the living room while the crime actually occurred. There’s a twist as John’s adult children including this child at the crime scene now have criminal records of their own.

The case was officially reopened in 2013 after the case went cold for 23 years. Investigators tested some found residue collected and found under Ms. Johnson’s fingernails for DNA. They found that it matched that of 47-year-old John Sansing. Now on Scene of the Crime, new DNA evidence matched the fingerprints on the very Legos discovered near her body with suspect John Sansing’s now adult son.

Scene of the Crime airs Sunday, June 10 at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.


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