Stepbrother found not guilty in Iowa woman’s 1999 death

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Kimberly Ratliff

A man who was accused of killing his stepsister in Council Bluffs in 1999 has been found not guilty of the crime, which the prosecutor attributed to poor police work at the time of her death.

Matt Kennedy, 52, was charged with first-degree murder after being arrested in October in Fairfield, Montana, in the death of Kimberly Ratliff, 22. She was found dead in a car on Jan. 12, 1999. Her throat had been slit.

Improved DNA testing in 2017 found DNA from Kennedy on Ratliff, prosecutors said, and Kennedy was one of the last people to have seen Ratliff alive.

Kennedy’s attorney, Jill Eimermann, argued during the trial that DNA from another person also was found on Ratliff, The Omaha World-Herald reported.

Kennedy was found not guilty on Friday.

Pottawatomie County Attorney Matt Wilber said the state’s case was hampered by a lack of police work at the time of Ratliff’s death.

For example, interviews weren’t conducted or recorded soon after the crime occurred, and Ratliff’s Pontiac disappeared from the Council Bluffs impound lot about 15 years ago and has never been recovered.

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