“Decades-Old Cold Case Solved: New Hampshire Woman’s Killer Identified Through DNA”

By | July 21, 2023



In a significant breakthrough, law enforcement officials have finally solved a four-decade-old cold case involving the murder of Laura Kempton. The crime was committed in September 1981 in New Hampshire, and the case remained unsolved until now. The breakthrough came through the use of advanced DNA analysis and forensic genealogy technology.

Unfortunately, the satisfaction of solving the case and bringing justice is bittersweet, as the perpetrator, Ronney James Lee, died from an overdose in 2005. Attorney General John Formella expressed his sadness at this outcome but emphasized the investigators’ resolve to never stop working on cold cases and seeking justice for victims.

Laura Kempton was found dead in her apartment, and the autopsy revealed that she died from head trauma. Evidence collected at the crime scene, including a cigarette butt, a pillow, and a glass bottle, led to the discovery of a male DNA profile years later.

The investigation continued for over 40 years, with detectives pursuing numerous leads and suspects, but none led to identifying a suspect until now. In 2022, advanced forensic genetic genealogy technology was used to identify Ronney James Lee as Kempton’s murderer.

Lee, who worked as a security officer in 1981, would have been charged with murder if he were alive today. However, since he passed away in 2005, no charges can be made against him. Nevertheless, the case can now be considered “solved.”

The conclusion of this investigation should serve as a message to anyone affected by cold cases that law enforcement will never stop working on these cases. The Kempton family expressed their gratitude to the Portsmouth Police Department for their commitment and perseverance in seeking justice for Laura.


While the satisfaction of justice may not be fully realized in this case, the resolution brings some closure to Laura Kempton’s family and community. It also highlights the power of DNA analysis and forensic genealogy technology in solving cold cases and providing answers even after many years..