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DNA testing led to arrest in brutal 1983 slaying of UNO student, Pott. County officials say


Thursday morning, Pottawattamie County officials held a news conference to discuss the arrest of a convicted sex offender in the 1983 slaying of a University of Nebraska at Omaha student. Firozeh Dehghanpour was found dead 37 years ago. Dehghanpour, thought to be 24 years old, was an Iranian national in the United States on a student visa. She was about to graduate from UNO with a double major when she died.BELOW: KETV news coverage from after Dehghanpour was found dead in 1983Her nude body was found north of Council Bluffs, under a bridge near Pigeon Creek. Her throat had been slashed. An autopsy led investigators to believe she had died somewhere different from where she was found. Bud Christensen, 67, has been placed in custody for the killing. Officials stated that Christensen was arrested April 30, he waived extradition Tuesday, was transported to Pottawattamie County Jail Wednesday and had his initial appearance in court Thursday morning.Below: Full news conference on cold case arrestAsked how he reacted when he was arrested, officials said Christensen “didn’t say a word.”Christensen is charged with first-degree murder and has been held on a $1 million bond. His preliminary hearing has been set for May 14. He’s been behind bars before. Records show he received a 10-15 year sentence in 1972 for sexual assault. He was released in May, 1983.Chief Deputy Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Theulen said there is no reason to believe the case is a hate crime. He said the arrest is proof that they don’t give up on any victims. “I just want to talk about the professionalism of a couple of people, Sgt. Doty, Crime Scene Technician Mikovec, and all the members of the sheriff’s office that never gave up on this young girl, and so hopefully we are starting to define justice for her this morning,” Theulen said. Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Investigator James Doty said that last year, deputies were contacted by a friend of Dehghanpour, who urged them to look into a new lead. While that person of interest was cleared due to an alibi, reviewing the case led deputies to evidence that could benefit from DNA analysis. “We did find evidence that had been collected at the scene that could possibly benefit from DNA analysis. We sent several of these items to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation laboratory for DNA testing. In March of this year we received a DNA hit on Bud Leroy Christensen,” Doty said. Pottawattamie County Sheriff Crime Scene Technician Hadley Mikovec said that many advancements have been made since 1983 and were able to provide answers — “answers Firozeh’s loved ones deserve.” “Let Firozeh’s case be an example that it is never too late to seek answers,” she said. Officials noted that it was difficult to make contact with Dehghanpour’s family in Iran. Doty said Dehghanpour’s brother was located and notified of the arrest. “Anytime you have a tragic crime like this where somebody loses somebody too soon. Giving the family answers is the most rewarding part of the case. I talked to her brother for about an hour. And, I mean he was shocked, couldn’t quite process it yet. But to be able to talk to him for an hour and learn more about her and who she was as a person is what makes all the hard work worth it,” Doty said. Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber urged anyone with information in this case to contact law enforcement. “We will continue to look for leads and take those leads seriously,” he said. A statement from the University of Nebraska at Omaha reads, “Our thoughts and very best wishes are with the Dehghanpour family, Firozeh’s fellow classmates and her closest friends.”

Thursday morning, Pottawattamie County officials held a news conference to discuss the arrest of a convicted sex offender in the 1983 slaying of a University of Nebraska at Omaha student.

Firozeh Dehghanpour was found dead 37 years ago. Dehghanpour, thought to be 24 years old, was an Iranian national in the United States on a student visa. She was about to graduate from UNO with a double major when she died.

BELOW: KETV news coverage from after Dehghanpour was found dead in 1983

Her nude body was found north of Council Bluffs, under a bridge near Pigeon Creek. Her throat had been slashed. An autopsy led investigators to believe she had died somewhere different from where she was found.

Bud Christensen, 67, has been placed in custody for the killing.

Officials stated that Christensen was arrested April 30, he waived extradition Tuesday, was transported to Pottawattamie County Jail Wednesday and had his initial appearance in court Thursday morning.

Below: Full news conference on cold case arrest


Asked how he reacted when he was arrested, officials said Christensen “didn’t say a word.”

Christensen is charged with first-degree murder and has been held on a $1 million bond. His preliminary hearing has been set for May 14.

He’s been behind bars before. Records show he received a 10-15 year sentence in 1972 for sexual assault. He was released in May, 1983.

Chief Deputy Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Theulen said there is no reason to believe the case is a hate crime. He said the arrest is proof that they don’t give up on any victims.

“I just want to talk about the professionalism of a couple of people, Sgt. Doty, Crime Scene Technician Mikovec, and all the members of the sheriff’s office that never gave up on this young girl, and so hopefully we are starting to define justice for her this morning,” Theulen said.

Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Investigator James Doty said that last year, deputies were contacted by a friend of Dehghanpour, who urged them to look into a new lead. While that person of interest was cleared due to an alibi, reviewing the case led deputies to evidence that could benefit from DNA analysis.

“We did find evidence that had been collected at the scene that could possibly benefit from DNA analysis. We sent several of these items to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation
laboratory for DNA testing. In March of this year we received a DNA hit on Bud Leroy Christensen,” Doty said.

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Crime Scene Technician Hadley Mikovec said that many advancements have been made since 1983 and were able to provide answers — “answers Firozeh’s loved ones deserve.”

“Let Firozeh’s case be an example that it is never too late to seek answers,” she said.

Officials noted that it was difficult to make contact with Dehghanpour’s family in Iran. Doty said Dehghanpour’s brother was located and notified of the arrest.

“Anytime you have a tragic crime like this where somebody loses somebody too soon. Giving the family answers is the most rewarding part of the case. I talked to her brother for about an hour. And, I mean he was shocked, couldn’t quite process it yet. But to be able to talk to him for an hour and learn more about her and who she was as a person is what makes all the hard work worth it,” Doty said.

Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber urged anyone with information in this case to contact law enforcement.

“We will continue to look for leads and take those leads seriously,” he said.

A statement from the University of Nebraska at Omaha reads, “Our thoughts and very best wishes are with the Dehghanpour family, Firozeh’s fellow classmates and her closest friends.”

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