Genevieve Tetpon’s stabbing death in 2000 was one of many in a series of killings that occurred around that time in Anchorage, Alaska. The case remained unsolved for years until efforts employed by detectives highlighted crucial evidence that helped solve a number of those cases.
Tepton’s murder remained a mystery until 2009 when key evidence – a trash bag consisting of mail – collected from the crime scene led detectives to Derrick Torian, whose DNA matched the sample found underneath the victim’s fingernails.
ID’s A Time to Kill’s upcoming episode will further delve into Genevieve Tetpon’s killing from 2000. The episode, titled Anchorage Cold Case, airs on Investigation Discovery on March 9, 2023, at 9 pm ET. The synopsis for the episode reads:
“When the body of a single mother turns up in a snowbank outside Anchorage, Alaska, the evidence points to the victim’s fugitive fiancé; the shocking murder of a second native Alaskan sparks investigators’ fears that a serial killer is on the loose.”
DNA evidence and a bag of mails found at Genevieve Tetpon’s crime scene failed to produce results at the start
Alaskan native Genevieve Tetpon, a single mother-of-four, was fatally stabbed in 2000. Her body was found by a motorist on March 22 in a sleeping bag tossed into a roadside ditch in Anchorage. An autopsy confirmed that she was stabbed 30 times and that there were defensive wounds all over her body.
At the time, there had been a series of killings of native women in the city, which caused authorities and others to suspect that they were likely dealing with a serial killer. Initially, DNA evidence collected from underneath the victim’s fingernails also failed to reveal a name. Investigators closely investigated the mails discovered in a trash bag near Tetpon’s body.
The mails reportedly belonged to Anchorage School District employee Amy Torian, whose husband Arthur was a pastor and a former Air Force officer. They had two sons – Derrick Torian, who was a senior at East Anchorage High School, while the other son was in college.
When questioned during the initial stages of the investigation, Amy Torian reportedly informed authorities that a few months before the incident, their car was burglarized, claiming that she even reported the robbery. She suspected that someone likely took the mails and dumped it on the side of the road.
According to Oxygen, Retired Sergeant of Anchorage PD Slawomir Markiewicz stated that her “explanation seemed pretty plausible” at the time, given that they also failed to produced any connections between the Torians and Tetpon. Investigators also suspected the vcitim’s former fiance, who was also cleared.
Genevieve Tetpon’s case went cold for more than eight years until Detective David Cordie, who was assigned to it in 2009, found a mail and a credit card bill were from March 2000 in the pile of mail found in the trashbag from where the victim’s body was found.
Detective Cordie re-opened the cold case and started investigating the Torians. He also used the DNA sample to find potential matches. Arthur Torian was first eliminated as a suspect. His son Derrick, who was 17 years old at the time of the crime, was a father-of-two and worked as a high school football coach when the case re-opened. However, he refused to give a DNA sample.
Later, detectives were able to obtain Derrick’s DNA, which was a perfect match to the one found under Tetpon’s fingernails and on the sleeping bag in which her body was found. In February 2011, he was arrested in Spearfish, South Dakota, from a restaurant where he worked.
Derrick Torian named a second suspect, who allegedly stabbed Genevieve Tetpon
Derrick Torian admitted to his involvement in the 2000 killing, claiming that at the time, he worked at a pizza place where he and his friend Louis de Jesus sold cocaine. Genevieve Tetpon reportedly entered the establishment after their closing hours and found them with drugs. The accused alleged that De Jesus stabbed her to death and that he only assisted the killer in disposing of the body.
His claim could never be corroborated because the second alleged suspect, Louis de Jesus, was murdered in 2002 in a killing that reportedly remains unsolved.
In 2013, 32-year-old Derrick pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was given a 15-year sentence. He was released on parole after serving only three years.
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