Bon Jovi's fifteen year old tragedy: The strange death of Katherine Korzilius
A re-hashing of the facts of a fifteen year unsolved hit and run death. This death was of Katherine Korzilius in Austin, Texas. Katherine was the daughter of entertainment manager Paul Korzilius who works for Bon Jovi.
- Who was Katherine Korzilius
- The facts of Katherine Korzilius's death
- What happenned to Katherine Korzilius
- The conspiracy theories behind Katherine Korzilius's death
- The aftermath of Katherine Korzilius's death
No little girls death should go unsolved for fifteen years and Katherine Korzilius's death has remained a mystery. This story fascinated me from the moment I first saw it aired on Unsolved Mysteries in 1998. Over the years I have watched Internet message boards, websites dedicated to Katherine and her family with the hope that one day I would read the words, 'Case solved', and know there is indeed some justice in the world. This day has never come, and to my amazement, many people don't know that one of the biggest rock bands in history, suffered such a tragedy.
Who was Katherine Korzilius
To all intents and purposes Katherine Korzilius was a normal, healthy six year old girl. The daughter of Paul and and Nancy Korzilius, Katherine lived an upper middle class life in an upscale gated community in Austin, Texas. Music lessons, swimming and a recent trip to Turkey all atest to the happy, privileged life the Korzilius's were afforded by Paul's job as an entertainment manager for the rock band Bon Jovi. Rounding out the family was nine year old brother Chris.
The family's idyllic life was about to come to an end. On August 7, 1996, Katherine Korzilius was killed, approximatly four houses down on the privileged Austin Street known as Elder Circle. While police, her family and relevant experts agree that this was most likely a hit and run death, the circumstances surrounding Katherine's death are anything but normal. Conspiracy theories have abounded on different websites but nothing has solved this case.
The facts of Katherine Korzilius's death
August 7, 1996 was a normal summer day for the Korzilius clan. Mom Nancy had taken Katherine and Chris to do errands buy a gift for Paul's birthday and have a treat at Subway. Paul Korzilius was working in his office in New York city, a fact that many conspiracy theory buff's have made a big deal of. Why wasn't he home for his birthday with his family? While that remains unanswered, what happenned next is fact.
Shortly before 4pm, the Korzilius clan were on their way back home. Mother Nancy stopped by the group mailboxes at the edge of the gated community for Katherine to get the mail. This was a family ritual; Katherine would hand her mother the mail and then walk the 1/8th of a mile home. Today was no exception, except that Katherine never made it home.
After returning home to put groceries away, Nancy and Chris became concerned that Katherine had not yet made it home. They decided to go and look for her, and found her on the other side of the subdivision circle, face down in the middle of the street. This particular part of Elder Circle was as yet undeveloped in 1996, and next to the road was an empty lot. Katherine was clearly unconscious and unresponsive and her mother Nancy quickly drove the 25 minutes to Seton Medical Center for help.
No one came out of their houses, the subdivision appeared on that summer afternoon to be deserted. The police got called, but it is unclear whether they were called on the Korzilius's journey to the hospital, or from the hospital. Paul Korzilius was immediatly contacted and returned home via chartered plane shortly before midnight when Katherine Korzilius was pronounced brain dead.
What happenned to Katherine Korzilius
Conspiracy theories have abounded since the original airing of this story in 1998. On one of the most viewed Unsolved Mystery episodes ever, episode #442. In this episode, a tearful Jon Bon Jovi talks of the impact of Katherine's death on her family, the band and his frustration that it had not been solved nearly two years later. A re-creation of the day's event leading up to her death are filmed, and an appeal to the public for help and information. The Internet was about to explode.
Despite the myriad of mispoken quotes and facts about Katherine's death, there remain some certainties. No evidence of sexual abuse was evident; Katherine was not attacked or mauled by an animal; no-one saw anything, and no-one from the subdivision called 9-1-1. What is also fact, is that the location Katherine was found, approximatly four housing lots distance away, was opposite to her direction home. To voluntarily get there, she would have had to turn around and walk in the opposite direction in the subdivision.
It was summer in the upscale Austin community. Homes in Elder Circle typically started at $350,000. Many families had domestic help, children played safetly outside in this gated community. At the time Katherine was discovered at 4.15pm, children should have been visible, parents or gardening staff tending to lawns, barbeques being started, and yet no-one saw or heard anything.
Sgt. Phillip Kemp who headed the investigation into Katherine's death voiced his frustration in 1998. After Katherine was taken to hospital a door to door canvassing was employed, and sniffer dogs brought in that tracked Katherine's scent to the empty lot her body had lain near. Whether she was ever in that lot, that day or any other is unclear. What is clear, is that from the time her mother dropped her off to the time she was found unconscious, less than half an hour had elapsed. What was clear in Sgt. Philip Kemp's mine is that Katherine Korzilius was the victim of a hit and run accident.
The conspiracy theories behind Katherine Korzilius's death
Message boards continue to be active, but not nearly as active as in the first few years following her death. The main conspiracy theory was that Katherine, after handing her mother the mail, hopped on to the back of the SUV (unnoticed), stood on the bumper, clung on to the moving vehicle and fell off, somehow landing four lots down from her home.
Despite the seeming ridiculasness to this idea, it has been tossed around many unsolved death forums. What discredits it, is the fact that Katherine had a splint on her finger which had been broken making it next to impossible to cling on to anything. Second, it was more than 90 degrees in Austin that day, making the idea of holding on to a steel vehicle even for a short journey, impossible.
Other conspiracy theories include Katherine being pushed into a car by a kidnapper, and then jumping out moments later at the other side of the subdivision. This too has been disproved. Katherine's body had no marks typical of someone either being dragged along a road, or someone who had jumped from a moving automobile. What is interesting, is that Nancy Korzilius once remarked that upon stumbling upon Katherine, her hair was smoothed and it looked like she had been, 'laid out'.
A further conspiracy theory was that a domestic help member of one of the upscale subdivision homes probably hit her. Fearful for their job and possible non-immigrant status, they picked up her body and moved her to a quiet, undevelped section of the street (actually Elder Circle is just that, circle shaped). This theory seems to have carried a lot of weight; message boards post users questions as to did anyone quit their jobs recently after Katherine's death? Did any families move away quickly? These questions have never been answered.
To see the conspiracy theories visit this link
The aftermath of Katherine Korzilius's death
Immediatly following her death a $5,000 reward was posted and offered by the HomeOwners Association of Austin, leading to information and an arrest in the hit and run death of Katherine Korzilius. To this day, the reward stands unclaimed. A year following the death of Katherine, the Korzilius's hired a private investigatior to look into Katherine's death. This investigation turned up nothing new.
In 1997, Jon Bon Jovi authored a song for Katherine on his album, 'Destination Anywhere'. The last track on the CD, number twelve is entitled, 'August 7, 4:15' a tribute to the death of Katherine Korzilius. In the video, Jon Bon Jovi and Demi Moore play a couple whose child is killed by a hit and run driver.
The Unsolved Mysteries episode number 442 has been re-aired over a dozen times. No new information has ever come to light.
The Korzilius's, Paul and Nancy remain married, and have never been suspected of Katherine's death. Paul now heads up Jon Bon Jovi's charity and is listed as the Treasurer.
Katherine Korzilius's file remains open; her death listed as suspicious, and believed to be that of a hit and run.
A dedication site to Katherine Korzilius created by the family remains open.
Had she been alive today, Katherine Korzilius would be 21.