Ad for Online Nanny Lured Woman to Her Death

Katherine Olson's body was found Friday in the trunk of her car.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 1:09 AM

Oct. 29, 2007 — -- A recent college graduate was lured to her death after responding to a Craigslist ad for a nanny, police said.

The body of Katherine Ann Olson, 24, was found Friday night stuffed into the trunk of her car at a nature preserve, according to the Savage, Minn., police. Olson had traveled to Savage from her home in Minneapolis to meet someone about a job as a nanny that she'd seen posted on the Web site Craigslist, police said.

Police arrested a 19-year-old man who works at the Minneapolis airport and said they expect to charge him in connection with the murder Tuesday. They declined to identify the suspect, but said they believed he placed the online ad.

Olson's father, The Rev. Rolf Olson, told ABC News that his daughter had found other nanny jobs -- including one in Turkey -- through Craigslist and had had positive experiences.

He described her as a warm, outgoing, "larger than life" person who loved theater. Olson said his daughter had traveled around much of the world, including Egypt and Argentina, where she worked as a juggler for a circus. Her e-mail address meant "crazy redhead" in Spanish, he said.

"She lived a larger than life existence for more than 24 years," Olson said. "I'm broken."

Olson wanted to go to Madrid to study in a graduate theater program, and was considering the nanny job so she could make extra money for her trip, he said.

Olson was last seen by her friends Thursday morning. Her purse was found in a trash can in a park in Savage later that day. Police later found a trash bag in the trash can; inside was a blood-soaked towel, police said. Investigators have not elaborated on the cause of Olson's death and are still awaiting the results of an autopsy.

"Katherine was, unfortunately, too trusting," her father said. "She had found benefits on Craigslist, but in her trusting nature, she fell into this trap."

When Olson's best friend, Sarah Sevcik, last saw her the night before she disappeared, Olson was deciding if she wanted to work as an interpreter, Sevcik said. Olson ultimately decided the career wasn't for her.