- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) - A woman found dead in a burning car in eastern Iowa nearly 20 years ago was killed by a man romantically linked to her, authorities said Friday in announcing his arrest in the cold case.

Steven John Klein, 54, was arrested in Muscatine in the 1995 death of 38-year-old Susan Kersten. He faces a first-degree murder charge, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported (https://icp-c.com/1J5LP47 ). Court records do not list an attorney.

Kersten’s charred remains were found inside her burning vehicle in a field near an Iowa highway in September 1995. Her death was initially believed to be accidental, but an autopsy determined she died of blunt force trauma to the head sustained before the fire.

Burned fireworks and a paper towel soaked in a liquid were among the items found in the car, according to the newspaper.

Lt. Doug Gwinn said Klein and Kersten had children together and were estranged at the time of her death.

Gwinn did not elaborate on what led to Klein’s arrest. A press release said Klein hit Kersten in the head then staged a car accident. He is accused of setting the car on fire with Kersten inside.

“We were able to get new information, and it was enough new information where we were confident the person was guilty, and we made the arrest,” Gwinn said.

Klein is being held at the Johnson County Jail on a $1 million cash only bond.


Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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