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Sheriff's Investigators Make Arrest in 30-Year-Old Homicide

The victim, a Yucapia man, died in 1983 at Loma Linda University Medical Center. The man suspected of killing him was arrested three days ago.

After nearly 30 years on the run, a man wanted in connection with a brutal beating and murder of a Yucaipa man, was found after his vehicle broke down by the side of the road.

Bernhard Hahm, 51, of Douglas County, Nev., a suspect in the 1982 murder of Ralph Knappenberger, was arrested on July 25.

The victim was found Oct. 2, 1982. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies were called to an apartment in the 31400 block of Yucaipa Boulevard in Yucaipa by a neighbor who saw blood on the sidewalk outside an apartment and heard moaning coming from one of the apartments, officials said.

A deputy entered the home and found Knappenberger inside a bedroom severely beaten, officials said. The severely injured victim was rushed to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he lingered for four months. He died in the Intensive Care Unit on Feb. 14, 1983.

Officials learned the men knew each other and that Hahm, 22 at the time of the assault, was seen in Knappenberger’s vehicle days before the beating, officials said. Hahm also reportedly and had been at Knappenberger’s house on the day of the assault, officials said.

Investigators unsuccessfully searched for Hahm, but found Knappenberger’s vehicle on Oct. 5 on Briarwood Drive, west of Brynhurst Drive in Riverside.

After several months with little additional information and unable to find Hahm, the investigation went cold. 

In late 2010 and early 2011, cold case investigators re-opened the investigation. Detectives presented their investigation to the San Bernardino County Superior Court and were granted a warrant for Hahm, officials said.

On July 23, Douglas County, Nev., authorities found Hahm by the side of the road, with his broken down vehicle, sheriff’s officials said.  On July 25, nearly 30 years after the murder, Cold Case Detectives Greg Myler and Rob Alexander interviewed Hahm about the beating and made the arrest.

He is being held at the West Valley Detention Center without bail.

Jennie D July 31, 2011 at 07:09 AM
Finally the remaining family members of Ralph Knappenberger can get some closure since the arrest of Bernhard Hahm. It's a good thing that the Detectives on this 'cold case' were able to "reactivate" the case and apprehend the person responsible for this terrible tragedy! Kudos to Detectives Myler and Alexander for bringing this felon to justice! Let's just hope the presiding judge doesn't throw the case out on a "technicality" ~~ that would indeed be a shame!!

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