Crime

Cold case breakthrough: Man charged with murder in 1995 death of Idaho teen

Cassia County Jail

Just a few days away from the 24th anniversary of a 14-year-old Burley girl’s killing, an arrest has been made in the case.

Regina Krieger disappeared from her home on Feb. 28, 1995, just two days shy of her 15th birthday. Her body was found on the banks of the Snake River on April 15 of that year, with her throat slashed and her heart stabbed.

On Wednesday, 56-year-old Gilberto Flores Rodriguez, of Burley, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder, according to a release from the Cassia County Sheriff’s Office. Rodriguez, who had once been a suspect in the case, is being held without bond at the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center.

“I knew we were getting closer and I was fully aware that it was going to happen,” Regina’s mother, Rhonda Hunnel, told the Statesman on Wednesday. “My excitement level is very high. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Hunnel now lives in Las Vegas and said she is hopeful that all parties involved will be held accountable.

Krieger’s disappearance was initially believed to be a runaway incident, and for a time there were rumors that her father, Daniel Krieger, was a potential suspect, according Statesman reporting in 1995..

Here are a few tips on how to file a report if a loved one or friend has gone missing.

Daniel Krieger had discovered blood in his daughter’s basement room the morning of Feb. 28, 1995, when he attempted to wake her for school. Authorities found a trail of blood leading to the home’s back gate.

“I love my kids ... I’d give my life for my kids. I built the basement bedroom for Gina because I wanted her to be comfortable and have a home ... I really miss her bad,” he told the Statesman in June 1995.

Gilberto Flores Rodriguez’s criminal history dates back to the 1990s in Cassia County, and he faced serious drug charges at one point.

In 2015 he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor providing false information to an officer. In 1996 he was charged in separate incidents with misdemeanor unlawful carrying a concealed weapon and misdemeanor battery. And he had a conviction for misdemeanor driving under the influence in 1994. Various other charges have been dismissed or pleaded down, according to online court records.

The former South Idaho Press reported in 1996 that Rodriguez had ordered the death of a man in Idaho, and it named him as a suspect in Regina’s death. Sources told the South Idaho Press at the time that the girl failed to pay a drug debt to him in 1995.

Read the Idaho Statesman’s original story about Regina Krieger’s 1996 murder.

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Michael Katz covers breaking news at the Idaho Statesman. He attended the University of Southern California and grew up in Pasadena, California.

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