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Rose Parade slaying: Romantic relationship probed by detectives

February 9, 2012 | 11:44 am
Sources said detectives believe a romantic relationship might be at center of the cold-case slaying of a Rose Parade volunteer who was allegedly killed by Richard Allan Munnecke, a onetime Tournament of Roses director

Detectives believe a romantic relationship might be at center of the cold-case slaying of a Rose Parade volunteer who was allegedly killed by a onetime Tournament of Roses director.

Authorities arrested Richard Allan Munnecke, 71, in connection with the death of Donna Lee Kelly, 59, whose body was found in the trunk of her car three weeks after she was reported missing in April 2004, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Kelly was a Rose Parade volunteer, which is how she met Munnecke, officials said. Munnecke denied he had a romantic relationship with Kelly, but detectives believe he did and that might figure into a motive in the case, according to law enforcement sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Kelly's body was found by her daughter as she drove through Eaton Canyon in Pasadena and "smelled a foul odor emanating from the trunk," the Sheriff's Department said in a statement. "She looked inside and found her mother's decomposed body."

The Pasadena Star-News reported that Munnecke's arrest startled three former Tournament of Roses presidents, including Mike Ward, who served in 1994 and 1995.

"That's shocking," Ward told the newspaper Wednesday night. "It's almost like it's the wrong guy. I knew them both. I've known Allan for years. He's been a real man about town. Rotarian. University Club. A real volunteer in the city."

Others said they were shocked by the news and described Munnecke as a mild-mannered, nice man who volunteered in the community.

Kelly had been romantically involved with Munnecke, who was married, according to authorities.

The case had gone cold until detectives recently gathered new evidence and obtained a DNA sample from Munnecke. He was being held Wednesday night in lieu of $1-million bail.

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-- Andrew Blankstein
twitter.com/anblanx

Photo: Richard Allan Munnecke. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

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