In the 48 Hours episode “Out of Reach,” TV investigative reporter Peter Van Sant investigates the brutal murder of Carolyn Abel, a young American woman who had been living in South Korea. She moved to Seoul in 1988 to teach English. On December 20, 1988, Abel was found stabbed to death (30 times) in her apartment. A colleague told Korean authorities that their fellow teacher, Kathryn “Kathy” Patrick, did it. The Korean government issued a writ of arrest for Patrick but she had already left the country and returned home to the state of Washington. U.S. officials were powerless because the two countries did not have an extradition treaty. Patrick cannot be forced to return to Korea to be tried. (The law has since changed: if an American kills another American overseas, the murder suspect can be tried in the U.S.)
With the camera rolling, Van Sant traveled to Western Washington University where Patrick works as a guidance counselor. She refused a formal request for an interview, so Van Sant ambushed her at her office. When he walks into her office and asks her what she has to say to the allegations, she says on camera, “I am innocent.” When Van Sant relays the theory that she killed Abel after Abel rejected Patrick’s romantic advances, Patrick denies it (see video below).
As Van Sant says, “it’s highly unlikely” that Patrick will ever be prosecuted. Plus, Abel’s family has been told that the evidence in Korea has been destroyed — including the police files. 48 Hours airs Saturdays at 9 pm and 10 pm on CBS. [NOTE: Stream any CBS show through Amazon Prime or CBS ALL-ACCESS. Both options offer free trials.]