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Docuseries hopes to shed new light on Burnsville cold case

Kristin O'Connell of Burnsville was murdered in the village of Ovid, New York in 1985.
Credit: David Porter/KARE

BURNSVILLE, Minn. — 36 years have gone by, but Phyllis O'Connell can't shake the apprehension she heard in her daughter's voice during their last conversation.

"She said, 'I'm going to be coming home,' and I said why? is something not right or what? and she said, 'well, it's alright mom, don't worry,'" O'Connell said. 

O'Connell's daughter, Kristin, was calling from the Finger Lakes Region in New York.

"She had met a boy on spring break, who just - oh! just charmed her to death," O'Connell said. "And she thought he was really nice, and she corresponded with him. He invited her up to the Finger Lakes before her junior year started."

O'Connell said even before the trip, she worried. She also worried about Kristin's Spring break in Captiva Island, FL too.

"There were a lot of things going on in the Finger Lakes during '85," O'Connell said. "One of the things being these kids would go down to Florida, come back with cocaine and selling it, just a lot going on, down at Captiva Island."

"We don't know if she saw something, she overheard something." she continued. "If she did, she would say you got to go to the police."

What Kristin may have known killed her.

At age 20, she was found dead in a corn field, in the village of Ovid, New York.

"When I think about how she died, in a field, all alone, you know, this guy almost decapitated her - or guys, whatever - it was just horrible," O'Connell said.

When asked if it was a situation in which she didn't have the evidence to point to the right people, or did not know anything about who may have been responsible, O'Connell responded that it was a little bit of both.

"There are people I think [who] know, but are afraid to come forward up there," she said.

Since then, O'Connell has been searching for answers.

She's hoping a documentary crew led by producer and family friend Christopher Pavlick can shed a brighter light on the case.

"I was just excited because I stayed on this case for 35 years," she said. "I mean, I've enlisted people that have tried to help me. They've gone out and done this, it isn't from a lack of trying. I've stayed right there in the forefront."

"I promised Kristin, I will never rest, until we find out who killed you and why," O'Connell added.

When asked if she was tired, she didn't quite answer.

"I think I still have hope, I think that's what keeps me alive you know?" she said. "I'm not young, so I just keep hoping before I die that we're going to get this resolved. I have more hope now."

Pavlick and O'Connell said they have been running into some access issues with the New York State Police in terms of records. They said once that is sorted out, they will announce an airdate and a platform for the docuseries.

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