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Remembering Randy: A call for answers in quest to solve Bozeman’s only unsolved killing

Bozeman’s only unsolved homicide remains open
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Posted at 4:00 PM, Apr 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-26 11:20:20-04

BOZEMAN — It’s Bozeman’s only unsolved homicide, the killing of Randy Church. Investigators are now calling on the public to help them finally bring closure to the 36-year-old case.

It happened on a cold, snowy February day in 1985. Randy Church, a Montana State University student went to work at the Pizza Hut on Bozeman’s Main Street just as he’d done dozens of times before.

It would be the last.

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Randy Church, a Montana State University student went to work at the Pizza Hut on Bozeman’s Main Street just as he’d done dozens of times before.

At some point that morning, when he was working in the restaurant alone as the shift supervisor, Randy was shot.

“We are hopeful that someone out there somewhere knows something,” said Detective Benjamin King.

Detective King is with the Bozeman Police Department. He believes information from the public could be what it takes to find Randy’s killer. He’s calling for new information as investigators embark on a mission to find new clues. They are piecing together the 36-year-old details of the case and working with a new lab to give a trail of evidence stretching three decades a modern look.

Remembering Randy: A call for answers in quest to solve Bozeman’s only unsolved killing

“We have several articles of evidence. Of course, DNA evidence was not a thing in 1985 so the investigators weren’t looking for that. Fortunately what was collected can be applied to new DNA technology,” said Detective King.

“Anything anyone has to tell us we will listen to no matter how small,” said Detective Sgt. Swanson. “You will not be bothering us. The DNA evidence can only be as good as what the piece of paper tells us because we want to find out what the motive was or what all those other specifics are behind it.”
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Police say it’s about more than tangible pieces of evidence, detectives want to hear from the community.

Detective Sgt. Joseph Swanson says they want to pair information from individuals with technology to tell the whole story of what happened on that winter morning and why.

“Anything anyone has to tell us we will listen to no matter how small,” said Detective Sgt. Swanson. “You will not be bothering us. The DNA evidence can only be as good as what the piece of paper tells us because we want to find out what the motive was or what all those other specifics are behind it.”

Investigators say it’s a case that shook Bozeman hard, a case many still remember. But no one, Detective King said, was shaken harder than Randy’s siblings. The family is from Havre and they want to bring them peace.

“As an investigator, I have an objective from which I must work,” said Detective King. “For the family on a personal level I think solving the case, that would be pretty magical.”

Randy Church was an electrical engineering student. Investigators and the Church family say he was a good student with lots of friends. You’ll hear from his sister and two brothers Tuesday.
The case has never been closed.

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Meantime if you have any information you can contact the Bozeman Police Department Cold Case Tip Line at 406-582-2025, or coldcasetips@bozeman.net.
Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for up to $10,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest in this case.