SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — It’s been 33 years since anyone has last seen San Jose State student Cathy Zimmer after she was found dead inside her vehicle.
On March 10, 1989, police found Zimmer’s vehicle parked at the Mineta San Jose International Airport short-term parking lot.
Inside, Zimmer appeared to be strangled and her body wrapped in a quilt.
According to SJPD, Zimmer’s fully clothed body was found on the floor of her back seat.
She was last seen attending classes at SJSU that afternoon.
In 2014, the case hit a major roadblock after charges against Zimmer’s husband and brother-in-law were dismissed.
Reports show a conflict of interest surfaced after Deputy District Attorney Ted Kajani and DNA lab technician Amanda Cardenas were reassigned after the couple came forward about their secret relationship.
As a result, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office was forced to dismiss charges against David Zimmer and Robert Zimmer in the strangulation death of David’s estranged wife.
According to the County DA’s Office, the investigation showed that the Zimmers were in the midst of a separation when she was killed.
At the time, evidence led investigators to her husband and his brother.
They believed that David allegedly profited financially from his wife’s death.
Within a month of her death, he sold their home for more than $250,000 and collected proceeds from two life insurance policies totaling $183,000.
38-year-old Cathy was the mother of two teens and at the time of her death was taking business classes at SJSU and working-part time at a real estate office.
Last seen 33 years ago
On March 8, 1989, she drove her children to school, had lunch with a friend, and attended two college classes.
According to investigators, she missed her 2:45 p.m. eye doctor appointment to check her newly-fitted contact glasses in Los Gatos and another appointment with a motivational group.
Cathy would never return home and two days later — police found her car parked in the short-term lot at SJC.
Anyone with information regarding the killing of Cathy is urged to submit a tip or call 408-277-8911. ( Case #: 89-069-0819.)
“The death of Ms. Zimmer was tragic and the DA is dedicated to seeing the perpetrators brought to justice,” the DA’s Office said in a statement to KRON4 News.
The DA’s Office said that in the last year, the Cold Case Unit has been able to solve four cases and six within the last 18 months.
Last last year, the unit obtained $535,000 in federal grants to solve cold cases through genealogy — allowing the DA’s office to expand its cold case work to sexual assaults in addition to murders.