Cops See Break in 1971 New Hampshire Murder

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Autumn brings a chilling memory for many residents of Franklin, N.H. It's the time of year when Kathy Gloddy, 13 at the time, vanished in broad daylight almost 40 years ago.

Hopes for solving the case have dwindled over time. But new developments -- and the involvement of a private investigator -- could mean the mystery is finally on the verge of being cracked.

In late November 1971, Kathy left her home on a trip to a store for ice cream. In tow was her constant companion, a German shepherd named Tasha. When Tasha returned home and Kathy did not, family members grew concerned.

VIDEO: Sisters Recall Horror of 71 Rape-Murder
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"The dog climbed up on the doors and was clawing at the door, just scratching at the door to get in," Karen Gloddy, one of Kathy's sisters, told ABC News. "The dog ran around the house, searching for her."

Stricken with panic, the family set out to find Kathy.

"That night we called the police, we called friends, we called the neighbors -- all night long we searched," said Janet Gloddy, another sister.

When Kathy's family called the police, they were told that they had to wait at least 24 hours to report Kathy missing. Without the benefit of current-day Amber Alerts, the Gloddys were left to search alone that first night.

Vanished: Ghosts of Autumn
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The next day, the family learned that Kathy's lifeless and naked body had been dumped in a patch of woods just a mile-and-a-half away. She had been raped and killed. But police had no suspects or leads.

"To think that she was left there, you know?" said Karen Gloddy. "In the cold of a dark winter's night and with no clothes on. And what had happened to her just came crashing down. It was really hard.

"My mom was sobbing. My dad was crying. I just stood in the doorway and I said, 'What's wrong?' And they just blurted out they found Kathy and she's dead, she's been murdered."

Tom Shamshak is a private investigator whose pro bono work on the case has given the Gloddy family new hope.

"This was a savage killing," he told ABC News. "It's one of the most heinous crimes that I have encountered in my 31 years of professional experience."

A hunter passing through the forest spied Kathy's body, clothed only in a pair of knee socks, and thought, at first, it was a deer carcass.

"That's not what you expect in a little town, that she had been brutally raped and murdered," said Karen Gloddy.

As the years passed, the family learned more and more details from that tragic night.

Kathy had been strangled and suffered a deadly blow to the head. An automobile had run her over four times.

Gloddy Family's Life: 'It Wasn't Living'

The community was at a loss as to who could have committed such a savage crime -- and why.

"She had a good reputation; she was loved by family, and was never in any type of trouble," said Shamshak.

Early on in the investigation, police pursued numerous suspects, to no avail.

"This case would have been solved if that crime happened today, given modern forensic techniques," said Will Delker, New Hampshire's senior assistant attorney general. "DNA samples would have been obtained, and it would have been very quick to determine who the actual perpetrator was. Unfortunately, this was no one's fault. It's just the reality of technologies that existed almost 40 years ago."

Kathy's parents were never the same after the murder, said Karen Gloddy.

"It was almost like your parents checked out; they lived day by day but it wasn't living," she said. "It wasn't life."

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