Husband charged with wife's 1996 murder in Polk County

Husband charged with wife's 1996 murder in Polk County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After 25 years, the husband of a woman whose remains were found September 1, 1996, was charged with her murder after being extradited to Polk County to stand trial.

Brian Clifton, 68, faced a judge on a first-degree murder charge and was ordered to be held without bail in the Polk County Jail in connection with the slaying of his wife Kathy Clifton.

Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Kathy Clifton’s remains were found wrapped up in a tarp and bound with rope in the hills overlooking the Mill Creek area in rural Polk County. Kathy Clifton, who had lived in the Salem area for most of her marriage with Brian, was last heard from in March 1996 when she reported a hit-and-run crash to Salem police.

An undated photo of Kathy Clifton and a forensic sketch released September 7, 2021 by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office

For decades, investigators used forensics experts’ sketches, sculptures and CT scans to try to identify her, but weren’t able to do it until 2019 after a DNA profile was developed from the remains and genealogists working with a TV show identified Kathy Clifton.

Authorities said there were no missing person reports made about her in 1996, nor was there a record of divorce between her and her husband. Detectives learned Brian Clifton married another woman about a month after Kathy’s remains were found and moved out of Oregon.

Brian Clifton, 68. is charged with the 1996 murder of his wife, Kathy Clifton, September 7, 2021 (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Authorities say Brian Clifton admitted to his involvement in her murder last month after a grand jury handed down an indictment for the murder of Kathy Clifton.

Undated photos of Kathy Clifton, who was killed in 1996, released September 7, 2021 by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office
10
Upvote
Save

Comments

Write a comment

*