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Cold Case Project: 1987 Kettering murder still haunts mother

Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 @ 10:06 AM
Updated: Friday, February 15, 2013 @ 10:06 AM

When she woke up early Nov. 18, 1987, Mary Beth Marino sensed her daughter was in danger.

“I woke up at five in the morning and knew something was wrong, 500 miles away,” Marino said.

By days end, she learned that her daughter, Karen Sue Goff, had been murdered in her Kettering home. But 25 years later, Marino, who lives in Atlanta, still doesn’t know who did it. The case is unsolved, though Kettering police have recently turned over evidence to the Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory for testing.

Goff, 20, was found dead in her bedroom at 2341 Carew Ave., about 4 p.m. Her father Donald, who owned the house, was letting her stay there until he could get a bedroom set up in her home, Marino said.

Marino said she was so concerned about her daughter that morning that she called her several times, but got no answer. She also could not reach Karen’s answering machine. Marino then called her ex-husband’s home and spoke to Karen’s stepmother about checking on her. Donald stopped by his rental property on the way home from work, Marino said.

“He called and said ‘Karen’s gone – Karen’s dead,” Marino said.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office found that she had been strangled sometime in the early morning hours. The killer apparently climbed in through a window while she was in the shower, then attacked her. Goff, who lived alone, was sexually assaulted during the attack.

There were signs of a furious struggle in the house, particularly in the bedroom, but police also discovered why Karen’s answering machine wasn’t working – the killer had cut the phone lines, police said.

Karen spent her early years in the Dayton area, but moved to Atlanta with her mother and younger brother. Karen had learning disabilities and spent much of her time in school in special education. Though she struggled, she was proud that she was able to be mainstreamed and graduate with her class in 1985.

“The biggest day of her life was her graduation,” Marino said. “It meant the world to her.”

She described Karen as outgoing but naïve, and someone who tried to hide her learning disabilities because she wanted to be liked.

“She wouldn’t know to be careful of a guy,” Marino said. “Probably emotionally, she was 18, 17. I always said she was younger than her age.”

Kettering Det. Vincent Mason said she spent her last day with a boyfriend and some other friends who stopped by the Carew Avenue house. She also had a late doctor’s appointment.

She spoke to a friend on the telephone about 1 a.m., and “after that, there’s no other contact with anybody outside the house that I know of,” Mason said.

She may have been preparing to go out. Her curling iron was on when the first paramedic arrived at the scene.

Mason said there is a strong possibility that Goff knew her killer. Karen was a regular at the Bourbon Street Nightclub on Woodman Drive, where she danced three to four nights a week with her friends.

The department still has people of interest, but will look at any new information about any possible suspect. The department also has DNA samples from some of the possible suspects, but not all them, Mason said.

One man, contacted by police after News Center 7 did a story on the case last fall, agreed to give a DNA sample. The man, who lives in Washington, D.C., was cleared, Mason said.

Donald Goff died in 1998 at age 54 without knowing who killed his daughter. Mason said he wants to provide that answer for Karen’s mother.

“I just want to try and give mom something because we couldn’t give dad the answer he was looking for,” Mason said. “It’s very sad, and I don’t want mom to have the same problem.”

Anyone with information about the killing of Karen Sue Goff is asked to call 296-2583.

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Can you ID theft suspects from a Beavercreek AT&T store?

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 5:18 PM

Beavercreek police took to social media to help identify two theft suspects who make off with more than $4,000 in merchandise from an AT&T store.

The two men entered the store at approximately 6:15 p.m. March 21 and stole iPhones and notepads, according to a Facebook post.

Both suspects are described as men in their early 20s wearing black hooded sweatshirts. One was wearing black jeans as well, and the second man had a hoodie with the letters “LB” on the back who also was wearing red Jordan shoes and khakis, police said.

Anyone with information is urged to contact detective John Bondy at 937-427-5520.

Got a tip? Call our 24-hour monitored line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Paul McCartney reflects on John Lennon at March for Our Lives rally

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:21 PM

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24:  Sir Paul McCartney joins thousands of people, many of them students, march against gun violence in Manhattan during the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in New York, United States.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24: Sir Paul McCartney joins thousands of people, many of them students, march against gun violence in Manhattan during the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in New York, United States. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Music legend Paul McCartney participated in the March for Our Lives rally in New York City Saturday.

When asked by a CNN reporter what he hoped could be accomplished by the movement, McCartney pointed to his shirt, which had the message, "We can end gun violence" printed on it.

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"One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here, so it's important to me," McCartney said.

McCartney was referring to his former Beatles bandmate, John Lennon, who was shot and killed in New York City in 1980 by Mark David Chapman. Lennon was 40 years old.

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MLK’s 9-year-old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King, rallies crowd at March for Our Lives

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:55 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24:  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Student Jaclyn Corin (R) and Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. address the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC.   (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 24: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Student Jaclyn Corin (R) and Yolanda Renee King, granddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. address the March for Our Lives rally on March 24, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Yolanda Renee King, the nine-year-old granddaughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr III, took the stage in Washington Saturday to deliver a message at the March for Our Lives rally.

"My grandfather had a dream that his four little children would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character," she told the crowd. "I have a dream that enough is enough."

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She then led in chanting: "Spread the word. Have you heard. All across the nation. We are going to be. A great generation"

RELATED: 30,000 march in Atlanta, hear students’ emotional gun-violence pleas

King III, in a CNN interview with his daughter, talked about the power of this movement and others in recent years, such as Black Lives Matter.

“All of these movements are leading to change in this great country,” he said, noting that soon these youth will be of voting age.

“The best is yet to come,” he said. 

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Local students, families take part in D.C. march against gun violence

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:34 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:34 PM

J.J. Miller, 17, of Baltimore, Md., blows bubbles as crowds arrive for the
J.J. Miller, 17, of Baltimore, Md., blows bubbles as crowds arrive for the "March for Our Lives" rally in support of gun control, Saturday, March 24, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Stephanie Cooper, 18, of Yellow Springs still remembers the first school shooting she ever heard about.

It was at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Twenty–six people died. Twenty of them were first–graders.

It was 2012. She was in middle school.

“To me it seems like it started happening more frequently after that,” Cooper said.

Lili Eiswas, a senior from Centerville, was at the D.C. march against gun violence on Saturday.

On Saturday, she and hundreds of thousands of fellow students descended on Washington, D.C. in hopes of reversing that trend, as a march organized by the students of Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, packed D.C. streets with protesters of all ages — but dominated by the young.

“If you listen real close you can hear the people in power shaking,” said David Hogg, a student at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., who took video as he and his fellow students hid from the gunman who opened fire on the school last month, killing 17. “Inaction is no longer safe.”

“Fight for your lives,” said fellow student Emma Gonzalez, who stood silent for much of her time on the stage to depict the just over six minutes the shooter killed 17 in her high school. “Before it’s someone else’s job.”

The march was organized by Hogg and other students from Marjory Stoneman High School. But speakers — all young — represented students from Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. The oldest speaker was 19; the youngest, 11. Only the entertainment — which included Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Lin–Manuel Miranda — were older.

Preliminary estimates put the crowd at about 500,000 people, making it the largest gathering to descend on Washington, D.C., since the January 2017 women’s march, which drew roughly the same number.

Megan Rose, a senior at Centerville High School, went to the march in D.C. Saturday. Says a flat tire on the bus couldn't keep her away.

While that march was billed as the women’s march, however, speakers at that march also talked about gay rights, Muslim rights and featured an amalgamation of causes. Saturday’s protest, however, was clearly and acutely focused on one issue: Stopping the mass shootings that have occurred around the nation, and ousting lawmakers who were unwilling to help stop those shootings by passing gun control legislation. But the protesters themselves didn’t look like a well-heeled special interest group; instead, it appeared as if a massive high school tour bus had suddenly dropped off thousands of passengers on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

“I am here to represent the African–American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” said Naomi Wadler, 11, of Alexandria, Va., who organized a walk–out and die–in on February 14 at her elementary school. “I represent African-American women who are victims of gun violence who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls who are full of potential.”

Wall–to–wall people crushed against one another inside police barricades, while outside, the streets were thick with young students, the elderly and parents pushing strollers. Similar rallies occurred in Columbus, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Parkland, Florida, as well as in other cities. Crowds also gathered in London, England; Frankfurt, Germany; and Sydney, Australia.

Among those in the crowd were Zach Dudzik, 19, an Ohio State freshman from Lakewood, Ohio, who decided to go after hearing the Parkland students characterized as “crisis actors.” He said he was outraged that people would not believe that students impacted by the issue could organize. “We deserve to have a voice and an impact on issues,” he said.

He said it feels like the shootings occur every week. “It’s really easy to be desensitized to it,” he said. “The fact that it happens so much shouldn’t make it less. It makes it worse.”

He traveled with Abi Norman, 19, an OSU sophomore also from Lakewood. She is studying to be a music teacher.

“I don’t want a gun,” she said. “I don’t want my coworkers to have guns.”

She said she has always felt safe at school, but the burden of the spate of mass shootings has taken a toll all the same.

“Every time I got to a movie theater, I’m checking every face. I’m always trying to be aware,” she said. “I don’t think that’s the way it should be.”

Megan Rose, 18, a senior at Centerville High School, said she participated in a walkout a couple of weeks ago.

“I was like, well what else can I do as a student?” she said. “And I thought why not come to Washington, D.C.”

Counter-protesters were present but rare. Two men standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue held signs. “When seconds count, police are minutes away,” one said. “I carry on campus,” the other sign read. “Teachers should too.”

“I respect you, but I think you’re wrong,” said a man as he walked by.

Among those navigating the crowd was Kris Knight of Gahanna, who brought his son Owen.

“It felt like it was the right time to get involved,” Knight said.

He brought his nine–year–old son so “he could see what young people were capable of doing when they really believed in something.”

“It was something he wanted to do,” he said. “It was something he felt strongly about.”

Elaine Zamonski of Kettering brought her daughters Mira, 8, Katherine, 11, Veronica, 14 and Veronica’s friend Alice, 14.

“I brought them because I wanted them to see that people’s voices have power,” she said. “In a conservative district like Kettering, they sometimes feel lonely in their views and rallies are inspiring.”

Before coming to the March for our Lives in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Barbara Carr of Buffalo, N.Y., sat down with a pink apron and painstakingly wrote out the names of every person who had died in a school shooting since the Columbine shootings in 1999.

Stephanie Cooper, 18, her mother Christina, father Robert and brother Peter, 15, at the march for our lives in Washington. They are from yellow springs(Washington Bureau)

A Sharpie pressed to the fabric, she wrote down more than 300 names. She wore those names on her back. She had to do her research, she said, in order to feel that she deserved to be there.

“It was hard,” she said, her eyes welling up as throngs of people crushed around her on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. “It was hard.”

Cooper, meanwhile, said she and her mother have had conversations. If there’s a mass shooting, her mother warns her, play dead if she can’t run.

“She gets really worried every time one happens,” she said, of the school shootings that have become a routine occurrence in her childhood.

On Saturday, she hoped those worries would translate to action.

“I just hope they realize that we’re the ones who are going to be voting them in the next couple of years,” she said of lawmakers. “So if they want to stay in power, they have to do what we ask them to do.”

(Jack Torry, Washington bureau chief, contributed to this report.)

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