Crime - Sacto 911

Eight years later, police still search for east Sacramento woman’s killer

Eight years after a 67-year-old woman was fatally stabbed by a man trying to steal her purse, police are still searching for her killer.

Today is the anniversary of the attack on Line Withrow, who was attacked as she headed to her east Sacramento home after a day of shopping. Detectives are asking for the public’s help in solving the seemingly random killing, which as been tied to three other robberies.

Withrow was walking near 37th and P streets shortly before 3:30 p.m. on April 28, 2006, when a car pulled up next to her. The suspect got out of the car and tried to take the woman’s purse. As the two struggled, the man stabbed Withrow repeatedly with a knife and ran away. Withrow died two days later at a local hospital.

Police have released two composite sketches of the suspect, who was described to police as an Asian man between 20 and 25 years old (he now would be 28 to 33 years old). He was 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall, had a thin build and “spiked” hair on top with the sides of his head shaved, according to police. He was seen driving a late 1990s to early 2000s model, four-door Honda Accord that was dark green or black.

Withrow’s son, Gregg, told The Sacramento Bee last year that the loss of his mother had done irreparable damage.

“It’s taken a toll,” he said. “I’m not the same person I used to be.”

Veteran homicide Sgt. Bob McCloskey keeps a photo of Withrow at his desk and told The Bee that finding her killer remains a goal he hopes to achieve before he retires.

Withrow’s death has been linked to three robberies that happened just before she was stabbed. The first occurred at 12:44 a.m., April 26, 2006, at 20th Street and Capitol Avenue. The victim was pushed to the ground as the suspect stole her purse. The suspect was driving a 1990s two-door, dark blue or black Honda Civic.

The second occurred at 12:30 a.m., April 28 at 15th and Q streets. The suspect threatened the victim with a knife to her throat and took money from her. The victim told police the suspect looked “really scared” and held the knife in his right hand.

The third occurred at 4:55 a.m. April 28 at Eighth and Q streets. The suspect put a knife to the victim’s throat and stabbed him in the chest before taking his briefcase and running away. The victim’s briefcase later was found in West Sacramento, near Interstate 80 and Harbor Boulevard.

That finding suggested that the killer could live out of the area. Unfortunately, hotel surveillance video and business logs near where the suitcase was found did not help detectives.

The fact that no new crimes have been linked to the series suggested to detectives that the suspect was in custody for another crime, but reviews of arrest records turned up no leads. It also is possible that the suspect is dead, McCloskey said. He told The Bee last year that a retired FBI profiler theorized that the killer was a drug addict, possibly robbing to feed his habit.

Evidence found on the third suspect’s briefcase allowed police to develop a partial DNA profile of the killer. That profile has been uploaded to state and national databases, but so far there have been no hits.

A reward of $50,000 remains for information leading to the arrest of Withrow’s killer. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-4357 or text in a tip to 274637, with “SACTIP” followed by the information. Callers can remain anonymous.