Family of Laurie Houts speaks out after Bay Area tech CEO charged with 1992 cold case murder

1992 in View Mountain in Houts Laurie, girlfriend roommate’s his of murder strangulation the with charged is Woodward Kevin John, say officials.

He was detained at JFK airport in New York on Saturday after arriving from Amsterdam.

When asked who she was, Cindy, as identified by ABC7 News, was my sister Houts’ first reaction, and she exclaimed, “Yay! Yes.” She said, “She’s not coming home, but ‘go, and then come down from that’.”

Cindy and Houts’ good friend Marilyn described having to relive 30 years of trauma in a matter of days, since the development.

As per Rob Baker, the assistant district attorney in Santa Clara County, Houts, aged 25 and working as a computer engineer, was discovered deceased inside her car close to a landfill approximately one mile away from her workplace on September 5, 1992.

The incident took place in the 1300 block of Crittendane Lane in Mountain View.

Investigators were unable to find any fingerprints outside of Houts’ car, but inside the vehicle, they discovered evidence. Officials say there were obvious signs of a struggle, as Woodward’s neck still had the rope that was used to kill her wrapped around it.

Shortly thereafter, Woodward was apprehended and underwent two trials for the homicide of Houts in the early 1990s.

The case, however, was dismissed by a judge when the jury couldn’t reach a verdict due to insufficient evidence, according to the district attorney’s office.

With advancements in DNA technology, on Monday, additional evidence and fingerprints gathered at the crime scene in 1992 were linked to Woodward.

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Sergeant David Fisher from the Crimes Against Persons Unit of the MVPD stated that the main challenge in those cases was the ability to discover fresh evidence. “These advancements have truly provided the district attorney with the capacity to press charges,” he added.

Sgt. Fisher explained his unit is responsible for reviewing cold cases at MVPD, and started looking into Houts’ murder in late 2020.

Sergeant Fisher stated, “analyze that cord, from that specimen, fresh genetic material was discovered using advanced technology, and they were able to trace it back to a previous sample taken from the murder weapon in this particular case.”

Marilyn Houts’ friend told ABC7 News that the game changer in Laurie’s case is the DNA technology, which we hope will bring justice forward and propel the case.

Investigators suspect that Woodward was envious of Houts due to her association with his housemate during that period.

Sgt. Fisher stated that Woodward has been residing in the Netherlands.

Woodward was apprehended upon arrival at JFK International Airport on Saturday with the assistance of international law enforcement. Officials clarified that the individual held the position of Chief Executive Officer at Readytech, an e-learning organization.

According to Sgt. Fisher, it is believed that he has returned to the United States for vacation and various personal reasons.

“He stated,” he remarked, “we organized for all the officials in New York to aid us with apprehending him.” “We discovered that several days before his departure,” he mentioned, “we were provided with details that the individual would be returning to the United States.”

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The DA’s office says that he will be charged once he comes back to Santa Clara County.

Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen stated, “Neither distance nor time will prevent us from seeking justice and uncovering the truth. I want Ms. Houts’ friends and family to know that we have never given up on her.”

Woodward, who is currently held without bail in New York, awaits extradition to California. If convicted, Woodward faces life in prison.

D.A. Rosen also praised the cooperation and assistance from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security.

According to the office of Rosen, Dutch authorities, in coordination with the DOJ, acquired a warrant to search Woodward’s residence and business in the Netherlands. Within a day, they confiscated several computers and USB drives.

Marilyn, a friend of Houts, informed ABC7 News, “She will not return. Our anger leads to sadness, and we hope for justice to prevail.”

She continued, “But the void in our hearts will not mend.”

The Houts family has introduced the Laurie Houts Memorial Girls Athletics Scholarship, showcasing her passion for sports and STEM.

Female seniors at Gunderson High School are planning to go to college and obtain a degree in a STEM discipline. They have been involved in sports for all four years and are seeking donations.

Both Cindy and Marilyn spoke with ABC7 News regarding the three decades of missed chances without Laurie, both in their professional and personal spheres.

Marilyn shared that she would have missed the whole Silicon Valley boom if she hadn’t been right up there with a lot of senior coding and computer engineers.

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Cindy expressed her concern for her children who will never have the chance to know their aunt. There are numerous individuals who are unaware of her existence, but Cindy is now aware of her. We were all simply too young.

Currently, loved ones and relatives are concentrated on pursuing fairness and achieving resolution.

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