NBC's 'Dateline' was released in 1992, and has been a staple in the newsmagazine genre ever since. The latter, which is now its primary focus, has us all hooked; it premieres a couple of new cases each week, bringing us in all over again.
The latest episode of 'A Promise to Helene,' chronicling Helene Pruszynski's brutal murder in 1980, is no different. Are you interested in learning more about Helene Pruszynski's tragic tale and the investigation that followed? Here's all we know so far about it.
Helene Pruszynski's Death: What Was Her Death?
Helene Pruszynski, a 21-year-old college student from Massachusetts, was working as an intern for the KHOW-AM radio station in Englewood, Denver, Colorado, on January 16, while she was staying with a friend, and she became concerned.
Helene's boss said she'd left around 6 p.m., and she later went looking for her, but to no avail. She'd only been discovered the following day by the authorities in a field in what now is Highlands Ranch. Helene's hands had been tied behind her, there were obvious signs of sexual assault, and she had been stabbed several times in the back. After investigators dug into the area, they sent her body for an autopsy.
Helene was discovered dead from the many stabbing wounds on her back after her aunt's house was abducted at an Englewood bus stop, making her death a homicide. The team decided that she would do everything they could to ensure her justice.
Helene Pruszynski was murdered on October 13, 2017.
Helene was not a locality and had no known enemies, so the investigation was difficult to conclude. This led to the addition of a DNA profile from the stored evidence to the national criminal database in 1998, 18 years after the fact.
Although no potential suspects were identified at the time, the expectation remained that someone would match up as more and more people get added to the database over the years. In 2017, investigators searched online public databases and found James Curtis Clanton, previously known as Curtis Allen White, a previously convicted rapist.
James was taken into custody and, in late November, obtained a surreptitious DNA sample from a beer mug from a nearby pub. It turned out to be a perfect match to the one discovered on Helene's body and clothes. He was then extradited to Colorado to face trial on the same day.