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Murder of Karen Adams by Robert Meyer and Charles Webber examined by On The Case With Paula Zahn

Portrait of Karen Adams
Robert Meyer brutally murdered Karen Adams. Pic credit: @OnTheCaseWithPaulaZahn/Facebook

On The Case With Paula Zahn is examining the shocking murder of teenager Karen Adams who was raped and killed near her home in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, by Robert Meyer in 1975.

The case lay unsolved for decades until DNA evidence uncovered Meyer as the killer. A further ten years passed before the cops learned that Meyer’s accomplice was Charles Webber and that they were also responsible for the murder of Lori Nesson.

On March 9, 1975, Adams left home to meet with her boyfriend at a grocery store, but she never showed. The 17-year-old’s remains were found the following day in a ditch by the road approximately six miles from her home. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.

After eliminating Adams’s boyfriend from their inquiries, the police found the investigation was hampered by a lack of evidence causing the case to grow cold quickly. However, they did hold onto the victim’s clothes, which proved to be key to solving the case decades later.

In 2011, officers submitted Adam’s underwear to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which tested for DNA. They found semen that matched two individuals, one of whom was Robert Meyer.

When the cops caught up to Meyer, they found an old man who was in failing health. But he continued to deny her murder and said he didn’t know how his DNA got on Adams.

Eventually, he admitted what he’d done and confessed to killing Adams. He pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; he has since passed away.

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Meyer was a seasoned criminal who preyed on multiple women for years. Previously to the Adams conviction, he had spent 25 years in jail for the rape of three women. And he’d also spent ten years behind bars for second-degree murder.

He would go on the hunt for women, abduct them and sexually assault them. When the cops demanded to know why he said that’s just what he liked to do.

Meyer and Webber were also guilty in Lori Nesson murder case

There was a further twist in this case; in March 2021, the police announced that they had solved another 47-year-old murder case. The nude body of 15-year-old Lori Nesson had been found on September 28, 1974, in a neighborhood not far from where Adams had been killed.

A member of the public had contacted the police when they noticed the similarity of the Nesson case to the Adams murder. Once again, the cops ran a DNA test, and they got a match to Meyer and another man, Charles Webber.

The police have since concluded that the second DNA sample found on Adams belonged to Webber. Meyer and Webber had met in an Ohio penitentiary in the 1960s, and on their release in the early 1970s, had rampaged around the Columbus suburbs abducting and raping girls. Webber passed away in 1992.

More from On The Case With Paula Zahn

Follow the links to read about more murders investigated by Paula Zahn.

Kelly Small broke into the home of Sandy Bauer in Omark, Washington, and raped and murdered the 51-year-old. He avoided justice for nearly a decade until he tried the same crime again; this time, his victim survived, and he left incriminating evidence.

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Bradley St Clair was working in his office in Bakersfield, CA., when he was attacked and murdered by Keith Shell. St Clair was the victim of a botched kidnap plot orchestrated by his secretary and girlfriend of Shell, Susan Clevenger.

On The Case With Paula Zahn airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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