Possible Break in Jenner Beach Killings

Victim's father is not convinced

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Wanted fugitive killed in shootout with police

    They were killed while they slept peacefully in thier sleeping bags along a Northern California beach near Jenner.

    It was a crime that left us stunned five years ago.  The young Christian couple from Ohio were just weeks away from getting married.

    Lindsay Cutshall, 23, and Jason Allen, 26, were shot to death in their sleeping bags while camping.

    Now there is a possible break in the case as a person of interest has been killed after a shootout with police in New Mexico.

    "Cookie Bandit" Linked to Jenner Beach Killings

    [BAY] "Cookie Bandit" Linked to Jenner Beach Killings
    A 62-year-old man on Canada's Most Wanted list who was killed in a shootout with police might have killed Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen as they slept on Sonoma's Jenner Beach in 2005, police said.

    Sonoma County sheriff detectives had been trying to talk to a man named Joseph Burgess for the last five years because they say the Jenner case is similar to a decades old double murder in which Burgess was the main suspect.

    Police say Burgess was a religious fanatic and didn't believe the unwed couple in Canada should be living together so he killed them.

    The 62-year-old has been that country's most wanted list for the double murder. Many thought he was dead all these years, but it turns out he was was just hiding out.  Police found him last week when he was killed in a shootout in Albuquerque.

    Burgess wasn't the only one killed, a veteran police officer also died in the gunfire.

    Police say that for the last decade, Burgess had been breaking into cabins and stealing food and other items needed for outdoor survival.
     
    The 2004 killings in Sonoma County had some eerily similar circumstances.  Sgt. Tim Duke said Sonoma County investigators have been in constant contact with Canadian officials.  He said they are also talking to investigators in New Mexico.  He said his investigators are trying to confirm or rule out a link between Burgess and the Jenner killings and that right now he can neither.

    Cutshall's father spoke to NBC Bay Area by phone. The Ohio pastor said he's not convinced police have the right man.

    "I think the cases are similar, but I think there are huge differences too and one of the big differences is that our kids were very committed Christians. In fact, they were professional campers and were working at a Christian camp serving God by serving young people (at the time of their deaths)," Chris Cutshall said.

    Cutshall was surprised to find out Burgess had been alive all these years. He says detectives tried, but were never able to find him.

    "Personally, I never felt like it was Burgess.  That ... who knows? Perhaps it was."

    He says Burgess' death intensifies the painful memories and that he is still waiting  to hear from Sonoma County detectives.