LMPD Detective credits original detectives in solving case murde - WDRB 41 Louisville News

LMPD Detective credits original detectives in solving case murder

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- We have now heard from the cold case detective who solved a 42-year old murder involving a one-year old child.

Police have 65-year-old Lawrence Beck in custody, and the cold case detective who solved the case credits the detectives who started the case more than 40 years ago.

Beck was arrested on Tuesday in Los Angeles for a crime police say he committed here in Louisville more than 40 years ago.

"There's a big difference in what a police officer feels and what we think," said LMPD Cold Case Detective Brenda Wescott.

Det. Wescott told reporters why justice -- and Beck's arrest -- were delayed.

"It's what we know, and what we can prove," she said.

And now Wescott says they can prove Beck is responsible for the death of 20-month-old Michael Sanders.

Sanders died on Dec. 15, 1971.

Police tell us it happened at an apartment building on Kingston Avenue in south Louisville, and after the child was injured, Beck took him to a nearby doctor's office.

"According to the initial investigation, that's where he was pronounced deceased," said Wescott.

And it didn't take long for police to determine that a crime had been committed.

Wescott explained, "His autopsy was conducted the next morning, just like it would be now, and it was very clear during the process of this autopsy that this was a homicide."

Despite the autopsy, there was not an arrest and the case remained unsolved.

Until now.

"This case haunted them," Wescott said. "The first time -- for both of these gentlemen -- that I called them about this case, their recall was immediate."

Wescott also said the case was solved because of the legwork done by the original detectives.

"Their investigation allows us to take what they learned and what they knew and to marry to the things that we know now about pediatric forensics."

Police say traumatic injury to the child's body was the cause of death. Both Michael's mother and the original detectives are glad the case is closed.

"She is very grateful to finally know what happened and to have some sort of resolution," said Wescott. "I can speak personally as a police officer...there's always cases that stick with you and this was one...this was one for both of these gentlemen."

Police say Beck was the live-in boyfriend of the child's mother. He is being held on a half-million dollar bond and should be back here in Metro Louisville in the next few weeks.

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