Kathi Goff Kennedy case

Twenty-five years is a milestone that means different things to different people.
For the couple who shared wedding vows 25 years ago, the milestone signifies their silver anniversary. For others, the passage of that many years may mean a special plaque from an employer or a dinner out with friends to mark the quarter century mark of one’s birth.
At the Kernersville Police Department (KPD), this 25th year on the calendar marks how many have passed since Kathi Goff Kennedy was brutally murdered in her apartment off Salisbury Street while her two small daughters were left unscathed nearby. Kennedy’s death remains the KPD’s only unsolved murder.
It is a haunting case not only in the brutality of the crime but also in how someone like Kennedy – by all accounts, a devoted mother, wife, daughter and sister – could fall victim to such horror.
“She was a low-risk victim, a mom of two children and from everything we’ve been told, a good, wholesome Kernersville girl,” said KPD Lead Detective Sandy McGee, one of three who have been assigned full-time to the Kennedy case just this year.
The date was October 17, 1994. It was a Monday evening, and Kennedy’s husband, David, was at the coast on an annual fishing trip. Sometime between 9 p.m. and midnight. Kennedy was attacked in her living room. There were no obvious signs of a struggle, but Kennedy was beaten, strangled, stabbed and sliced with a knife, police said.
Kennedy’s lifeless body was discovered on the morning of October 18 by her mother, who had gone to the apartment out of concern because she hadn’t heard from her daughter. Neighbors told investigators about a disturbance between 9 and 9:30 p.m., but no one called authorities.
At the time, the KPD only had two detectives in the department. During the investigation, additional investigators were pulled in from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, McGee said.
Over the last 25 years, countless manhours have gone into the case. During that time, Kennedy’s daughters, who were four-years-old and 11-months-old at the time, graduated from high school and college and gotten married themselves. Kennedy’s sister, Diane Woolard, said all Kathi ever wanted was to be a mother.
“She was a wonderful person. All she wanted to do was be a mother. She missed out on their first tooth, high school graduation and weddings,” Woolard lamented as she talked about her sister recently. “She missed out on a big part of their lives. It’s so sad.”
Woolard said her brother-in-law has been an amazing father to his and Kathi’s daughters.
“David did a wonderful job raising them. They have grown up to be amazing young women. She would be so happy how they turned out. They are beautiful inside and out. She would be proud,” Woolard said.
Woolard keeps in contact with the KPD every so often. She hopes justice will prevail one day, although her mother won’t be here to see it.
“She passed away and didn’t get to see justice,” Woolard said. “We can’t understand who would have done this. There are a lot of questions out there and we want someone held accountable.”
Woolard continued.
“If anyone knows anything, I would ask them to contact the Kernersville Police Department, even if they think it’s insignificant.”
The KPD continues to try to find those answers for the Kennedy family. McGee and her team are working the case as if no time has passed. For them, it is October 1994 and nothing is off the table as far as their investigation is concerned.
That includes going through all the files on the case, re-testing evidence from the crime scene through an independent lab and talking to anyone they can find with a connection to Kennedy’s murder.
“We’re basically going back and talking to everyone we can find, including family, neighbors, friends and co-workers,” McGee said. “We’re going to investigate, follow up on leads, conduct interviews and let it take us where the evidence leads.”
McGee said maybe something new will turn up or maybe fresh eyes will see something others might have overlooked.
“The challenge is the time that has gone by and people’s memories. People don’t remember things like they did back then. Some people are no longer alive,” McGee explained. “We want to go back and talk to everyone we can. Will we find something new? That’s what we’re hoping. Sometimes, it’s the oddest thing that could happen to jog someone’s memory.”
The KPD team will continue to have a myriad of law enforcement resources available to assist them with the investigation.
“We are reaching out to every resource we have. The SBI has been on board with this case since the beginning. We’re also using the resources of the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI,” McGee said. “We’re not going to turn down any resource. As far as evidence, we will use every resource we have.”
McGee and her team must also leave any preconceived ideas they have about Kennedy’s murder at the door.
“You’ve got to have an open mind and think outside the box,” McGee said. “You have to look at everything and make sure you leave no stone unturned.”
Like Woolard, McGee encouraged anyone who believes they have some information about the Kennedy case to contact the KPD.
“If anyone has anything, we would love to hear from them,” McGee said. “We’re not ruling anything out. Someone could have the smallest thing that they don’t even know they’ve had it and it could lead to something. We’re reaching out to the public. We need their help.”
While Kathi Goff Kennedy’s name may not resonate as sharply as it once did with the public – time has a way of doing that – for the detectives with the KPD, Kathi has never been far from their thoughts.
“She’s not forgotten,” McGee said as the 25th anniversary of Kennedy’s death approaches. “We’re not giving up. The police department has never given up on this case. To close this case, for the department, it would mean everything. We would love to give the family closure.”
The KPD has an anonymous tip line set up on the police pages of the Town of Kernersville website at www.toknc.com for anyone who might have information related to the Kathi Goff Kennedy case. They can also contact CrimeStoppers at 336-727-2800 or the SBI at (800) 334-3000.

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