Michael Ray Schlicht : “Iowa Teen, One of Randy Kraft’s Early Victims, Identified After 49 Years”

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An Iowa teenager, who was previously known only as “John Doe,” has finally been identified after 49 years as Michael Ray Schlicht of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This breakthrough brings closure to a cold case that has baffled investigators for decades. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department in California announced the identification, revealing that Schlicht is believed to be one of the earliest victims of the notorious California serial killer, Randy Kraft, also known as the “Scorecard Killer.”

Kraft, now 78 years old and imprisoned at San Quentin State Prison, was convicted in 1989 for the brutalization and murder of 16 men in Orange County. However, authorities suspect that he may have committed additional killings in California, Oregon, and Michigan. Schlicht’s body was discovered on September 14, 1974, by two individuals who were off-roading on a fire road northeast of Laguna Beach, California. Initially, his death was deemed accidental, attributed to alcohol and diazepam intoxication. But subsequent similar deaths in the area raised suspicions, leading investigators to reclassify them as homicides.

The breakthrough in identifying Schlicht came when tissue samples from the victim were submitted to a private forensic biotechnology company in November 2022. Using these samples, a DNA profile was developed and entered into a genealogy database to construct a family tree. This investigative technique eventually led authorities to Kansas City, Missouri, where they obtained a DNA sample from a woman believed to be Schlicht’s mother. The conclusive match confirmed the identity of the long-unknown victim.

Kraft’s crimes were particularly gruesome, as he was described as a fetishist who stored dismembered body parts of his victims in his freezer. During his trial, Kraft maintained his innocence, stating, “I have not murdered anyone, and I believe a reasonable review of the record will show that.” Despite his claims, overwhelming evidence and the testimony of surviving victims led to his conviction.

The identification of Michael Ray Schlicht brings closure to his family and provides a renewed sense of justice for the victims of the Scorecard Killer. The diligent efforts of investigators and advancements in DNA technology have allowed for the resolution of this cold case. While Kraft remains behind bars, the revelation of his additional potential victims serves as a reminder of the importance of ongoing investigations to bring closure to families and ensure justice is served.

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