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The Unsolved Murder of Kathleen Logar

The Unsolved Murder of Kathleen Logar

 

Case File Overview

 

When no one could reach 53-year-old Kathleen Logar in April 2004, her daughter, Teri Jo Silbert, contacted the Denver Police Department.

On Friday, April 16th, the police performed a welfare check and found Kathleen’s body in her home located at 4160 Perry Street in Denver, Colorado.

An autopsy later determined that Kathleen had been strangled to death during the early morning hours of Wednesday, April 14th.

Photo of murder victim Kathleen Logar
Source: Find A Grave

Kathleen’s nude body was in the bathtub, and her “beautiful hair had been hacked to a stubble.” Additionally, bruises and small cuts covered her back and arms. Kathleen’s jaw and multiple bones in her neck had been broken during the vicious attack.

Kathleen’s murder remains unsolved.

 

Case File Theories

 

Stranger Killing

Was Kathleen murdered by a stranger? Perhaps during a robbery? Maybe. Kathleen’s house had been ransacked, and it was difficult to determine what, if anything, was stolen. However, there has never been any discussion of forced entry, which makes robbery more unlikely.

Plus, Kathleen’s murder seems especially personal and hate-fuelled. Either the intruder accidentally happened upon Kathleen in the bath, or they intentionally killed her and then left her naked body on display. Cutting off Kathleen’s hair strikes me as either the work of a killer with a hair fetish who no doubt would have gone on to kill a string of women in a similar fashion, or someone close to Kathleen who knew the pride she took in her hair and wanted to degrade her.

Although it is impossible to be one hundred percent sure, I doubt Kathleen was killed by stranger.

Bill Polhemus

Was Kathleen murdered by someone from within her inner circle? I think this is a probable theory. Most people, including the Denver police, consider Bill Polhemus the prime suspect.

Kathleen Logar and Bill Polhemus 

Photo of murder victim Kathleen Logar and Bill Polhemus
Source: The Denver Post

Kathleen and Polhemus first met at a party in 1966 when she was just 15 years old. After what has been described by many as an extremely rocky relationship, Kathleen became pregnant with Polhemus’s child in 1970.

Kathleen felt like she had little support and that Polhemus would make a terrible father. She decided to give her daughter, Teri Jo, up for adoption. Kathleen and Polhemus fell out of contact, and did not speak to one another for decades.

Fast forward to 2001, and a pregnant Terri Jo longed to find her birth parents. A month after filing the paperwork, Terri Jo and Kathleen were in contact. Kathleen reached out to Polhemus, and he was eager to meet his daughter and reconnect with Kathleen.

In March 2002, Kathleen, Terri Jo, and Polhemus, Logar had a five-day reunion. Shortly afterwards, the romance between Kathleen and Polhemus was rekindled.

Bill Polhemus, Teri Jo Silbert, and Kathleen Logar reunited in spring 2002

Bill Polhemus, left, Teri Jo Silbert, center, and Kathleen Logar, right, when birth parents and daughter reunited in Spring 2002
Source: The Denver Post

It isn’t known if Kathleen was aware of Polhemus’s repeated run-ins with the law and mental health issues. In 1982, Polhemus was arrested “for kidnapping, assaulting, and raping two women.” In March of 1983, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Polhemus was sent to the Pueblo state mental hospital. After his release, a supposedly “cured” Polhemus was arrested in 1997 for third-degree sexual assault. Polhemus claimed that his accuser was lying, a response that will become his go-to stance over the years to come.

After Kathleen and Polhemus reconnected, there was notable friction. For example, Kathleen disliked Polhemus’s excessive drinking, they fought about money, and Kathleen had yet to concede to moving in with him. Terri-Jo also said that they often argued about how Kathleen wore her hair. Kathleen liked wearing it curled, whereas Polhemus preferred it straight. Terri Jo explained, “It drove him crazy it took so long to curl her hair. He liked her hair a certain way.” In my mind, there is a connection to be made between Polhemus’s disdain for Kathleen’s hairstyling and the fact that her hair was chopped off during her murder.

It was Polhemus who called Terri Jo and told her that Kathleen was missing. He said that he had not been able to get ahold of Kathleen since he had talked to her on the phone late Tuesday, April 13th. According to Terri Jo, during that initial call about Kathleen’s disappearance, Polhemus stated, “I will be a suspect, but they can get my phone records, and they’ll see I called her home at 6:30 on Wednesday morning.” It is unsettling that Polhemus was already thinking about his alibi before anyone even knew that Kathleen was dead.

Equally as suspicious, during another call Polhemus told Terri Jo, “I hope they didn’t use my hedge trimmers to cut her hair.” Polhemus had brought his hedge trimmers to Kathleen’s house to do some yard work for her. With this statement, it appears as though he was trying to explain away how his gardening tools could have been used by the perpetrator. Polhemus’s hedge trimmers have never been found.

The police questioned Polhemus at least six times regarding his involvement in Kathleen’s death, and he failed a lie-detector test. He vehemently denies having any involvement in Kathleen’s murder.

Why has Polhemus not been charged with Kathleen’s murder? That is a good question. Soon after she was killed, Polhemus was inspected for injuries and none were noted. I find this a little strange, as I suspect that some of the wounds on Kathleen’s arms were defensive wounds and that she put up quite a fight. Also, the police have stated that they just do not have any physical evidence directly linking Polhemus to Kathleen’s death. His DNA would be in the house, and on Kathleen, as he often visited. Kathleen was strangled, so there is no real murder weapon that can be located and linked to Polhemus. And as I have already mentioned, his hedge trimmers conveniently vanished after the murder. The police are now counting on the public to come forward with information to help close this case.

You might be happy to learn that at least Polhemus is not a free man. A year after Kathleen was murdered, “Polhemus struck a 30-year-old woman in the head with a mallet when she went to his house to pick up clothing she had left there.” After being repeatedly raped, the naked woman escaped from her bedroom window and called the police. Polhemus claimed that the woman was mentally unbalanced and lying. The law finally caught up to Polhemus, however, and he was convicted of 9 felony counts and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Bill Polhemus

Photo of murder suspect Bill Polhemus
Source: The Denver Post

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this case is that Terri Jo believes that Polhemus killed her mother, and that she is somehow responsible for Kathleen’s death. Terri Jo said, “Part of me is like, God, if I hadn’t met her, she probably wouldn’t have been murdered.”

Who do you think killed Kathleen?

By all accounts, Kathleen was a fun-loving and extraordinarily kind and giving person. She adored Elvis Presley and had a blast singing in karaoke bars. She dreamed of going to Nashville and becoming a country music star. Kathleen was a devout Catholic and would assist troubled people in any way she could, either with prayers or by opening her home to people who needed a meal. Kathleen’s loss was a huge blow to both her loved ones and the Denver community. It is beyond time that this case is resolved so that her loved ones can finally have some semblance of closure.

If you have any information that can help to close this case, please contact the Denver Police Department at 303-739-6000 or Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). Callers may remain anonymous and receive a reward up to $2,000.

Related reading

Kathleen Logar – Colorado Bureau of Investigation case file overview

Kathleen Logar – Denver Police Department case file overview

“Denver woman killed after daughter helped reunite biological parents”The Denver Post article

Kathleen E. “Kathy” Logar – Find A Grave

Interested in unsolved murders? Check out the slaying of the Sun Family and the mysterious murder of Sherry Black.

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10 Comments

  1. Michael Schneider Michael Schneider

    no offense to kathleen, but if she knew of his background, she shouldnt have got him involved in the ‘reunion’. she shoudlve told terri jo that he died or that for sure lets not get him involved with this ‘reunion’. kathleen brought him in to the picture. when a person is that sour of a grape, you gotta leave them out. the guy is a perpetual abuser and rapist. he needs to die in jail.

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Michael. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment! It’s unclear whether or not Kathleen knew of Polhemus’s criminal history. But even she did she might have believed that he was rehabilitated. I really don’t want to victim-blame because either way it’s tragic and no one deserves to be murdered. I can’t agree more that I hope he spends the rest of his life in jail. In my opinion, even that is too good of an end for him! Have a great week!

  2. TOdd TOdd

    This is such a no brainer in my opinion. The guy who murderer her is in jail, hopefully he will die in jail… too bad there is no dna to link him to this case.., he probably will never be charged for the offense unless a jail house snitch comes forward

    • Christine Christine

      Hi Todd. I agree. Odds are pretty high Kathleen’s killer is already behind bars. But I still hope somehow her loved ones can one day have some official closure. Thanks for reading!

  3. This case brings up an interesting question for me. After someone attacks and rapes two women, then is incarcerated for it, what makes them cured? What is the criteria for that judgement? I can understand letting Polhemus go after treatment the first time, but maybe it would have been better for everyone if he would have gone back to jail indefinitely after assaulting the third woman. Although there isn’t enough evidence to make a call, it seems that everyone would agree that he killed Kathleen. As much as we need to help and assist the mentally ill, we also have to temper our kindness, and be willing to place these individuals like Polhemus in a secure facility so that they don’t have a chance to act out their impulses on people like Kathleen. Enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing!

    • Christine Christine

      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. I couldn’t agree more with your insights! The mentally ill definitely need our kindness and understanding; however, a line must be drawn when they become a danger to society. I checked out your site and love your historical true crime work. If you ever want to write a guest post for my site just reach out. My guest posts typically include an introduction area where the guest writer is introduced and links to their social media accounts and books/previous work are offered. You can check out some of the previous guest posts on my site to see what I mean, if you are interested. All the best! ~ Christine

      • I’d love to do a guest blog on your site! Your format sounds great. Please give me a week or two – because I’m just swamped with life stuff right now – and I’ll be in touch, if that’s okay with you. Thank you so much for the invitation!

        • Christine Christine

          Great! And no rush. I’m on holidays until after Labour Day. Feel free to contact me anytime after that. All the best with your life stuff! ~ Christine

    • Michael Schneider Michael Schneider

      yeah its sad that he was able to get out of jail after the previous rapes, ‘cured’ or not. i guess it doesnt matter, you do the time dictated by law or even get out early and can go do it again. there does need to be longer jail time for other acts than murder, hell some people that commit murder get plea deals that let them out after a short time. we need to get non violent drug offenders out of jail and maybe even drug dealers with no criminal past out of jails and lock those up for longer time that have done acts of rape or molestation.

      • Christine Christine

        Hi Michael. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment. I agree that oftentimes the time served for many crimes does not seem to be in line with the heinous nature of the act. It’s a tough one for me, though. I’m for rehabilitation when possible, but I’m always torn when people reoffend and cause more damage. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

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