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Arrest made in 1983 death of Nebraska college student from Iran

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Posted at 1:51 PM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 16:51:46-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — On the evening of Aug. 14, 1983, a Pottawattamie County deputy received a call saying a dead body had been located near a bridge three miles north of Council Bluffs, Iowa.

That body belonged to Firozeh Dehghanpour, an Iranian exchange student studying at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She bled to death from several stab wounds.

Several items were located and recovered around her, including a bra, a pair of underwear, a blouse and notebooks.

"Over the next several months, several agencies worked together to try to find Firozeh's killer. Unfortunately, the case went cold; however, the evidence that was collected in 1983 had been stored and preserved at the sheriff's office in case new information ever came to light," said Sgt. Jim Doty of Pottawattamie County.

In the fall of 2020, the case was reopened. While reviewing the reports, authorities found evidence that could benefit from DNA analysis.

"In March of this year, we received a DNA hit on Bud Leroy Christensen. Then we focused on our investigation on Christensen, and without getting into too many details, we were able to develop more evidence that linked Christensen to her murder," Doty said.

Ultimately, Chief Deputy Jeff Theulan says this case revolves around one question.

"This really goes back to how you define justice," Theulan said.

Advancements in forensic science have allowed for more insight when it comes to cold cases, helping families and friends seek the truth they deserve.

"Let Firozeh's case be an example that it is never too late to seek answers," Crime Scene Technician Hadley Mikovec said.

Authorities are looking for more information about Bud Christensen over the past 38 years. If you have anything to share, please call 712-890-2224. If you are hoping for anonymity, call CRIME STOPPERS at 712-328-7867.

Jesse Cox, M.D., Ph.D. is the director of the molecular forensics laboratory and tissue typing laboratory at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Below, he explains advancements in DNA testing in an extended interview with KMTV Digital Content Manager Katrina Markel.

Jesse Cox from UNMC explains how the lab works with law enforcement

This story was originally published by Isabella Basco at KMTV.