PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The criminal charges against a man suspected for years of murdering a young Vancouver mother in 1994 have been dismissed.
Richard E. Knapp was released from Clark County Jail on Wednesday, which is where he spent the last few years on first-degree murder and second-degree murder charges.
Knapp was accused of raping and strangling Audrey Hoellein Fraiser at her Vancouver apartment in July 1994.
The motion to dismiss reveals “new and credible evidence” was discovered since the charges were filed in 2019. With this new information, “the State no longer feels it can bring forth sufficient evidence to prove these charges beyond reasonable doubt,” according to Jeff McCarty, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney.
Knapp was first connected to Fraiser’s murder after detectives in 2019 said a specialized lab was able to link a cigarette butt found at the scene to him using genealogy databases. Following this discovery, detectives said they collected and tested a fresh cigarette butt Knapp threw out to confirm the DNA link.