United Kingdom

Convicted sex offender is arrested for 1983 murder of Iranian-born Nebraska University student

Bud Leroy Christensen, 67, was awaiting extradition from Nebraska to the Pottawatomie County Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on a first-degree murder charge. He waived his right to fight the extradition during a court hearing Tuesday.

Authorities have arrested a convicted sex offender for the decades-old cold case murder of an Iranian-born University of Nebraska student.

Bud Leroy Christensen is facing a first degree murder charge for the killing of Firozeh Dehghanpour, who was in her mid-20s, on August 14, 1983.

He was arrested for the 38-year-old murder of Dehghanpour after police agreed to re-open the cold case, and re-examined blood evidence with more advanced DNA techniques. 

They found the DNA matched that of Christensen who had his on file after multiple sex crime convictions. 

Police were then able to match his fingerprints to one taken at the scene. 

Christensen waived his right to fight extradition from Nebraska to the Pottawatomie County Jail in Council Bluffs, Iowa, during a court hearing Tuesday, according to the Omaha World-Herald

The 67-year-old is listed on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry as a lifetime offender with at least three sex crime convictions.

Police had agreed to re-open the cold case after a friend of Dehghanpour reached out and pleaded with officers to reinvestigate.   

The young woman's naked body had been found by fishermen under a bridge north of Council Bluffs. She bled to death from several cuts, an autopsy determined. 

The month after Dehghanpour's 1983 death, detectives interviewed acquaintances of her and took fingerprints and hair samples from more than 100 UNO students of Middle Eastern descent. 

No results yielded a match with a potential suspect in the case at the time.

Bud Leroy Christensen, 67, is accused in the murder of Firozeh Dehghanpour, who was in her mid-20s, on Aug. 14, 1983.  

Sgt. Jim Doty, of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office, began looking into the case again after Steve Martin, a friend of Dehghanpour contacted him last year.

Martin, a UNO business student in the early 1980s who now resides in Nevada, said he called Council Bluffs and Omaha police over the years to ask about the investigation into Dehghanpour's death.

Martin, 62, was stunned when he heard someone had been arrested in the nearly 40 year old cold case. 

Authorities at the time suspected she was killed somewhere else by someone she knew and Christensen's name was unfamiliar to him.

'It kept gnawing at my stomach. I was upset about this for a long time. I just kept trying to push it over the years.' added Martin.

Doty noted DNA analysis of previously collected evidence matched with Christensen's and additional evidence confirmed him as a suspect.

Fishermen found Firozeh Dehghanpour's body on Aug. 14, 1983, under a bridge north of Council Bluffs.

Fishermen found Firozeh Dehghanpour's body on August 14, 1983, under a bridge north of Council Bluffs. She bled to death from several cuts, an autopsy determined

Investigators compared Christensen’s fingerprints with prints on the computer papers found near Dehghanpour’s body. 

Four prints had been found on the papers at the time, but only two had previously been identified.

One fingerprint was Dehghanpour and the other belonged to a UNO computer consultant.

A test of the fingerprints in March showed the two remaining prints was Christensen’s, according to court records.   

Sgt. Jim Doty, of the Pottawattamie County Sheriff's Office, began looking into the case again after Steve Martin, a friend of Dehghanpour contacted him last year.

'The probability of finding this profile in a population of unrelated individuals, chosen at random, would be less than 1 out of 6.1 octillion,' Doty wrote in court records reported on by the Omaha World-Herald. 

Doty added he spoke to Dehghanpour’s brother, who currently resides in London..

'Giving the family answers is the most rewarding part of being able to solve the case. He was shocked. He couldn’t quite process it yet.' Doty continued.

Christensen is now facing a murder charge and remains in jail waiting extradition. 

He is listed on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry as a lifetime offender, and as such he is required to submit his DNA sample due of a Nebraska state law passed in 1997.

One of his first degree sexual assault convictions came in 1972 after an incident involving a minor. 

During Christensen's most recent sexual assault case in 2014, he pled guilty to attempted second-degree sexual assault and first-degree false imprisonment. 

Christensen was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in May 2018. 


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