41-Year-Old Colorado Murder Case Solved
The Greeley murder was made a priority by a dedicated cold case detective.
Kay Day via Weld County Sheriff’s Office
“For more than 41 years, Kay’s family and friends and the rest of Weld County community have been waiting for the killer to be brought to justice. I am pleased to announce we took a significant step in that direction earlier this week.” — Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams at the press conference.
29-year-old Evelyn Kay Day worked at Aims community college in the business lab division. Kay worked late shifts at the lab and was last seen by a college student around 10 pm on the 26th of November, while she was packing up and locking the offices for the night.
Realising his wife never returned home that night, Chuck Day reported Kay missing the next morning and the Evans Police Department began its investigation. Kay’s colleagues were told that she was missing, and later that day they found her car.
The snow-covered 1977 Datsun station wagon was parked on the shoulder of the road near West 20th Street and on closer inspection, the two colleagues found Kay’s body on the backseat.
Her discovery was called in from the Family Sports Center, nearby and emergency services quickly arrived on the scene. The coroner’s report said Kay had been beaten, assaulted and then strangled with the belt of her coat. DNA was taken from her but due to the early use of forensics, no arrests were made.
Kay’s husband Chuck was considered a suspect for a short time but was quickly ruled out of the investigation and the case eventually went cold.
Last year, Detective Byron Kastilahn was brought in to work on cold cases, exclusively. He pulled ten cases that he believed to be priorities and Kay’s case was one of them.
The historic DNA sample, taken from Kay’s assault kit, was sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and was compared to the millions of samples on the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that’s used across the country.
On the 26th of August 2020, one profile matched the DNA sample; 64-year-old James Herman Dye.
James Herman Dye’s mugshot via Weld County Sheriff’s Office
Dye is a convicted felon with a long criminal record, including multiple arrests in 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1982 for assaults on adults and children.
Dye lived nearby to Day and also enrolled at the college in 1979, where his classes took place in the building near to where Kay worked. The 23-year-old’s course was in Trades and Industry and it’s unknown if he finished his studies after he murdered Kay.
While reviewing the case, Kastilahn found that an anonymous tip was originally called in about Dye on the 3rd of September 1988. The tipster told police that Dye was living in Easton or Ault and gave them a description of the suspect.
They said on the night of the 26th of November, Dye came home covered in blood and the clothes were never seen again after that evening. Dye then told his [now ex] wife about the women killed at the college, but it hadn’t been on the news yet.
The tipster became uncooperative when asked where Dye was at the time, but they said that Dye’s wife could expand on the conversation she had about Kay’s death with her husband.
After reading the report, Kastilahn couldn’t see that the lead had been followed up in any way at the time, but speaking to Dye’s ex-wife years later, she thought he’d killed Kay.
Dye has been charged with two first degree murders. The two charges are in place as investigators aren’t sure if the murder was premeditated or whether Kay died during Dye’s assault on her.
While Dye awaits extradition in Sedgwick County Jail, Wichita, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office still pursues information about Kay Day’s murder.
Tips can be phoned into Detective Byron Kastilahn on (970) 400–2827.