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September 04, 2019

Yellow sock leads to arrest in 28-year-old Delaware County cold case homicide

Theodore Dill Donahue, 52, is charged with killing ex-girlfriend Denise Sharon Kulb in 1991

Investigations Cold Cases
Arrest cold case murder Delaware County Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Theodore Dill Donahue, 52, has been charged in the death of his former girlfriend, Denise Sharon Kulb, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced in a press release. Kulb was found dead in Delaware County on Nov. 12, 1991 by Pennsylvania State Police.

Police have arrested the ex-boyfriend of a woman killed in 1991, whose body was found in wooded area of Delaware County, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said.

Theodore Dill Donahue, 52, was arrested Tuesday morning by Pennsylvania State Troopers in connection with the cold-case killing of his former girlfriend, Denise Sharon Kulb. Donahue is charged with murder, abuse of corpse, tampering with evidence and related crimes.

The case was re-opened by the Pennsylvania State Police in 2015. The Philadelphia District Attorney's office joined the investigation in 2018 after the Delaware County District Attorney ceded jurisdiction.  

According to the Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner's investigators, it was a yellow sock that had been found when police searched Donahue's apartment in the city's Wissahickon neighborhood on Nov. 15, 1991, that led to his arrest nearly 30 years later. Investigators used photo-enhancing technology to connect that sock to a matching sock found with the victim's body, authorites said.

Kulb's body was found on Nov. 12, 1991, off of Harvey Road in what was known at the time as Birmingham Township, Delaware County – it has since been renamed Chadds Ford Township.

When state police reopened the Kulb investigation in 2015 and reinterviewed Donahue, he changed the details about the last time he saw Kulb from what he told police in 1991. Originally, he claimed that he last saw the victim on Oct. 18 when the two of them bought and ingested crack cocaine. He described that the two were robbed and she ran to get help, investigators said.

But in 2015, he said he last saw Kulb outside a bar. According to the victim's sister, Donahue and Kulb had gotten into a fight outside of the bar on Oct. 19 — the last day Kulb was seen alive. Phone records also showed that the two spoke on Oct. 19. 

After Kulb's body was found, authorities said, Donahue called and asked state police about her autopsy results, and he confronted two state troopers in a "nervous manner" to offer help with the investigation.

Police also said that during interviews, Donahue allegedly revealed information about the location of where Kulb's remains were found that authorities believe would have been impossible for him to know, unless he had been to the scene. 

Donahue is being held without bail by Pennsylvania State Police Troop K. 

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