Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning says the investigation of Andrea Kruger's murder continues. No arrests have yet been made.
The sheriff said with the suspect or suspects still at large, people in the community should use caution as they go about their business. To underscore that, Sheriff Dunning read from a list of personal safety tips that people should keep in mind. (You can scroll through that list in the insert on the right side of this article or download a printable pdf version.)
Investigators believe Andrea Kruger's murder was a random act.
While the sheriff said this does not appear to be the work of anyone like a serial killer, there is nothing routine about the case. "I don't know that there is a normal homicide," he said. "Normal people don't kill people."
The sheriff said that there was a 21 minute gap between the time Kruger left her job at the Deja Vu lounge at 178th and Pacific and the time of the shots-fired call at 168th and Fort.
Authorities are trying to determine what happened in that time period and they're hoping for more information about a vehicle that left the crime scene, northbound on 168th after the gunfire.
As investigators continue to patch together the puzzle of Kruger's murder, they tell Channel 6 News that someone made "a feeble attempt" to destroy evidence in the car she was driving when she was killed.
That vehicle, a Chevy Traverse, turned up at 43rd and Charles on Wednesday evening. It has since been towed to the Douglas County Forensic Services Division for more thorough processing - a task that continued on Thursday. We're told there was smoke damage inside.
Sheriff Dunning says they are pursuing several leads in the case and one of their main goals now is retracing Andrea’s route from leaving work to the intersection of 168th and Fort where she was shot Wednesday morning.
Sheriff Dunning said investigators have spoken with people in businesses along that route and he says they have reviewed security footage. As to whether the video has revealed anything significant or if they have any suspects, Sheriff Dunning said he could not comment on that.
Kruger's old co-workers and customers at the Deja Vu Lounge, where she worked, watched the press conference intently at the bar on the TV.
Jim Goldfaden, a loyal customer, doesn't think Kruger willingly stopped in a dark secluded area.
"It makes me sick! I mean she's a mother of three, and the question that we all asked each other, 'why would you stop at 1:45 in the morning?'" he said.
The staff doesn't believe the trouble could have started at the bar.
Deja Vu waitresses are escorted out to their cars each night.
"Unless there was someone driving by and, I don't know, followed her maybe, but the crowd that comes in here, I don't see that happening," said Jaiecie Knodell, of Deja Vu.
Meanwhile, funeral arrangements have been made. Visitation for the 33-year-old Kruger will be held Sunday, August 25th at Reichmuth Funeral Home in Elkhorn. Funeral services will be held on Monday, August 26th at 11 a.m. at Stonebridge Christian Church near 156th and Butler. A reception will follow at the church.
And as the family prepares for Andrea's funeral, friends have assembled a Web tribute in her memory.
Click here to sign the online memory book for Kruger's family.
A memorial fund has been set up at Union Bank under the name of the Andrea Kruger Memorial Fund. The people who set it up are from Lincoln but you can donate at any Union Bank location or over the phone by calling 800-297-2837.
Posted August 21, 2013
Authorities located the vehicle 33-year-old Andrea Kruger was driving when she was murdered early Wednesday morning. It was found Wednesday evening in a parking lot at 43rd and Charles in Omaha.
Neighborhood residents told Channel 6 News Thursday, police were searching on the roof of a gun shop next to the lot and asked those living in an adjacent apartment building if they saw anything suspicious.
Andrea's body was discovered in the street just south of the 168th and Fort Street intersection around 2:15 a.m. She was shot and her SUV stolen after leaving her job the at Deja Vu Lounge.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Tim Dunning said, "We are working as hard as we can to bring this suspect or suspects to justice."
Andrea's husband, Michael-Ryan Kruger said, "My kids had the best life because they got to spend all day with their mom. Go to the pool, the children's museum, the zoo."
They have three children. The couple just celebrated their five-year anniversary a few weeks ago. “She's generous, she's outgoing, funny," Michael-Ryan said. "When she enters the room it's like okay, 'Andrea is here.'"
He never could have imagined that his family would have to deal with such a nightmare and that he would be left to answer the children’s questions. “Who took mommy? Why did they take mommy?”
When authorities arrived at the scene, they found Ms. Kruger's body in the street but her car was gone. Sheriff Dunning said that finding the vehicle was crucial to the investigation.
The vehicle, a gold 2012 Chevrolet Traverse, was located by Omaha Police officers at 43rd and Charles and was being processed for evidence. The Douglas County Sheriff's Department picked up the investigation from there.
Michael-Ryan said he and Andrea had been texting each other until around 12:30 a.m. about one of their daughters, who had a fever. He said Andrea would usually get home from work around 3 or 3:30 a.m. He's not sure why she would have left early, unless she wanted to come home to check on their sick daughter.
He first realized something was wrong when he woke up and she wasn't there. He checked for her car, then checked the news. That's when he saw a homicide investigation was taking place nearby and couldn't help but think the worst. He called 911 and Andrea's mother. “Said oh my God, she's the one at 168th and Fort. I said hold on, hold on, I'm going to go look for her. I'm going to go look for her."
Now, as he tries to be strong for his family, he says it's going to be tough. “I promise you that I was the not the strong person in our family, my wife was the strong person. So I am going to need help with that.”
Anyone with information about the murder is asked to call 402-444-6000.