An unknown killer gunned down a teen boy, and then robbed and raped his girlfriend, off a dirt path late on a winter night in South Carolina.

The evidence the murderer left behind remained on file for decades, as he remained at large. But as technology improved, the killer’s later attack on another person got him caught, police said.

Isaiah Gadson, Jr., 63, has been charged with murder and sexual assault in the 1980 attack this week – after he turned himself in for shooting another person, and submitting a DNA sample that matched the cold-case evidence from 36 years ago, says the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

“(Beaufort County) Sheriff’s Officers looked into the case for many years and it eventually grew cold, due to limited forensic technology at the time,” authorities said.

“Once his DNA profile was uploaded into CODIS, it was quickly matched to this case.”

Two Teens Victimized

The trail of the murderer and rapist quickly went cold after the attack on Jan. 6, 1980.

The juvenile girl and Krulewicz were parked in his van on the dirt path off of Old Salem Point Road in Burton when the unknown African-American male approached and started firing into the van. Several rounds struck Krulewicz.

As the teenager lay dying, the attacker robbed the girl and then sexually assaulted her. The killer then fled.

After the attacker fled, the girl ran back to her home and called the police. Emergency responders rushed to the van still parked off of Old Salem Point Road – but they found David Krulewicz had bled to death. Evidence was taken from around the van – and also from a routine examination of the girl’s body.

In the days, months, years and decades afterward, the investigation was at an impasse. DNA technology did not yet exist.

No suspects were identified for decades. But the evidence collected in the investigation remained in storage – and the forensic tools improved.

Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner, who took office in 1999, elevated the importance of unsolved murders and rapes. As part of the initiative, the semen taken from the girl’s examination produced a full DNA profile of the killer. Although it was uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) in 2003, it produced no hits.


That all changed when Gadson, Jr., now 63, shot another man in the neck at a local gas station during an argument on June 10, authorities said. Gadson, of Burton, S.C., is accused of shooting an acquaintance in the neck at a Beaufort Exxon station during an argument on June 10. Gadson turned himself in a short time later, according to local newspaper The Beaufort Gazette.

Gadson submitted a DNA sample at the Beaufort County Detention Center while behind bars as he was being charged with attempted murder in the gas-station shooting.

That DNA sample matched the semen that was collected from the girl in 1980.

READ MORE: The Hidden Cost of the Rape-Kit Backlog

Analysts identified the hit at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Forensic Services Laboratory on Aug. 2.

Capt. Bob Bromage, who leads the cold-case unit at the Beaufort Sheriff's Office, offered advice to other investigators with cases still open on their books.

"With the emergence of the new DNA technology, it pays to go back and revisit these cases," said Bromage. "Study your craft and stay informed - know what technology is available."

Courtesy of South Carolina D.O.C.

Just a week later, and with Gadson still behind bars, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Cold Case Detectives obtained warrants for murder, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree, kidnapping, and armed robbery in connection with the attack 36 years ago.

The rape kits on law enforcement shelves in the U.S. are seen by some as an untapped resource of violent offenders who could be identified in other crimes, using evolved genetic testing methods. A Forensic Magazine analysis last year determined that some statutes of limitation were expiring on the sexual assault crimes, as thousands of kits remain untested.