Katherine Erin Korzilius was born in 1989 to her parents Paul and Nancy Korzilius, and she had a brother called Chris. Her father, Paul, worked as the tour manager for the rock band Jon Bon Jovi. Katherine and her family lived in Elder Circle, which is a small neighbourhood close to Austin, Texas.
On August the 7th, 1996, 6-year-old Katherine and her mother, Nancy, and brother Chris, left the family home to run some errands. It was Paul’s birthday that day, so they had gone to buy a birthday present for him.
When they returned back to Elder Circle, Nancy let Katherine gather the family’s mail from the community mailbox and then walk home. Nancy and Chris would drive the long way home, whilst Katherine would walk the shorter route.
However, after a few minutes had passed and Katherine had not returned home, Nancy asked Chris to go and look for her. When Chris was not able to find Katherine, Nancy got in her car and drove around Elder Circle. Within minutes, Nancy had found Katherine lying on the road in Elder Circle.
Katherine was unconscious but was still breathing. Nancy decided to pick her up and take her to the hospital nearby.
Sadly, Katherine never regained consciousness and died in hospital later that day.
Most people assumed that Katherine had been the victim of a hit and run accident, but Katherine’s family were not so sure. To start with, Katherine was found in the opposite direction of where she was supposed to be walking. She was found on the longer route home that Nancy and Chris drove, not on the shorter route which is where the mailbox was located and her house was closest to. Katherine’s family do not know why she would have been walking that route.
The medical examiner’s report also brought up more questions about Katherine’s death than answers. In the report, the medical examiner stated that the injuries Katherine had received, including a fractured skull, and abrasions on her right hip, knees, left shoulder and her back, were constant with Katherine either jumping or being thrown from a moving vehicle.
One theory that was put forward by investigators was that Katherine had tried to hold on to the back of her mum’s, Nancy’s, car and had fallen off which would explain why her body was found in Elder Circle.
However, Katherine’s family do not think this is the case, and they hired private investigator Barbara O’Brian, to investigate Katherine’s death.
Barbara firstly noted that it was a hot August day on the day that Katherine died, which would have made it hard for her to hold on to anything as it would have been extremely hot. Secondly, there were only two places on Nancy’s car that Katherine could have held on to – a bar on the top and the back door handle. But, if Katherine had held on to the back door handle, the door would have opened.
At the time of her death, Katherine was wearing a splint as she had broken her left thumb, which would have made it a real struggle to hold on to anything. To add to this, Nancy would have been able to see Katherine holding on to the car through her rearview mirror.
Katherine’s family instead think that she was abducted and murdered, and believes that an empty lot around thirty yards away from the mailbox may hold the answers. A few days after her death, investigators brought in K-9 dogs which picked up on Katherine’s scent in the empty lot, but her scent was lost after the empty lot. This does suggest, however, that Katherine was walking in the direction of the mailbox when she was abducted.
Nancy also said that when she found Katherine’s body, it was almost as if she had been “laid out” for her to find. Katherine’s hair was smoothed down, her shirt and shorts were straight on her body, her toes were pointed straight and her sandals had been kept on. If Katherine had fallen off the back of a car, her clothes and hair might not have been in such a neat condition.
Katherine’s case is unsolved, though Nancy is considered to be a possible suspect due to the theory that Katherine may have fallen off the back of her car. Katherine’s family strongly disagree with this theory, and the private investigator they hired found evidence to suggest that Katherine had instead been abducted and murdered.
A year after Katherine’s death, her family and neighbours in Elder Circle came together and planted a tree and placed a plaque in her name. Katherine’s death was also immortalised by the song August 7, 4:15 by the rock band Jon Bon Jovi.
Katherine’s brother, Chris, later became a senior deputy for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. Sadly, he passed away on the 18th of March 2020 in a car accident. He was 32 years old.
Katherine’s family hope that one day someone will come forward with information about Katherine’s death, and the family will get the justice and closure they deserve.
Unsolved, Mystery, True Crime, Murder, Homicide, Death, 1996, Texas, Katherine Korzilius, Unsolved Death, Strange