Parents ‘satisfied’ daughter’s 1984 murder was solved

Photo courtesy of San Diego Police

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Recent DNA evidence allowed police in California to identify a suspect decades after the murder of a Cranston teen, but the man apparently committed suicide before an arrest could be made.

For 30 years, the parents of 14-year-old Claire Hough thought they knew who her killer was, and said they were surprised to find out that police had a different suspect in mind.

Hough was brutally murdered back in 1984 after she went for a walk on the beach by herself while visiting her grandparents in the San Diego area.

“She had a strong sense of justice,” said Penelope Hough. “She was very kind and loving.”

On Thursday police identified 62-year-old Kevin Charles Brown, a civilian lab worker with the San Diego Police Department, as a suspect in her death using DNA evidence.

“We’re satisfied it’s been solved,” Samuel Hough said. “It doesn’t have the kind of impact it would have if we had gone all these years waiting.”

Hough said all these years he believed the man who found his daughter’s body was the killer.

Even though police found a suspect, the Houghs won’t have complete closure. Before police could arrest Brown, he was found dead in an apparent suicide.

Claire’s parents said they’re glad police persisted in the case.

“Obviously, we miss her all the time,” said Samuel.

Police had a second suspect in Hough’s death, 67-year-old Ronald Tatro, but said he died in a boating accident three years ago.’

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