See more of the story

An anonymous donor is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to finding whoever killed a young mother 35 years ago in her St. Paul home.

Someone entered 23-year-old Cheryl Prokop's home at the Vista Village Townhomes in the 600 block of Kansas Avenue and strangled her overnight on Dec. 2, 1988.

Prokop's 4-year-old daughter, Katy, found the body later that morning and went to the apartment caretaker's office to report what she had seen.

The St. Paul Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said Friday they have been actively investigating the killing since it happened, but no information has led to anyone responsible for Prokop's death.

"We've waited for 35 years to understand why Cheryl was killed and who did it," her father, Dick Prokop, said in a statement accompanying announcement of the anonymous donation. "Nothing can bring her back, but maybe this reward will help lead to some answers. If you know what happened, please report what you know."

Drew Evans, superintendent of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), said, "Despite decades of forensic and investigative efforts, available evidence has not led us to the person or persons responsible for Cheryl's death. But we're continuing to work this case and are hopeful the reward will result in new information."

St. Paul Police Chief Axel Henry added, "We as a department never forget victims and their families who are left behind seeking answers. We will continue to seek those answers and are committed to providing closure for families and bringing every offender to justice."

Police back then said Prokop's daughter reported seeing one or two intruders that night.

Homicide detectives said they suspect that whoever killed Prokop likely entered through a ground-level window that was found pushed out. Entry also could have made through an unlocked door, a police lieutenant added.

Police saw in the West Side apartment signs of a struggle. Her body was found in a hallway. She appeared to have been strangled with a curtain-type cord.

Prokop was a 1984 graduate of St. Paul Humboldt High School and was enrolled at the time of her death in a medical secretary program at what is now called St. Paul College. She was months away from graduating.

If a tip leads to an arrest and conviction in this case, the anonymous donor will pay the reward in coordination with the family and law enforcement.

Anyone with information about who is responsible for Cheryl Prokop's death is urged to contact the BCA at 877-996-6222 or at Tips can be provided anonymously.