Philly man arrested in cold case murder of young mom killed 28 years ago

Kristen Johanson
September 03, 2019 - 4:56 pm
DA Larry Krasner and Pa. State Police at a press conference.

Kristen Johanson/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s been 28 years since a young Philadelphia mother was found dead in the woods near Chadds Ford. Now, the man police say killed her has been arrested for her murder. 

Denise Kulb went missing in mid-October 1991. The 27-year-old's body was discovered a month later in some woods in Chadds Ford, near Harvey Road, off Route 1. She had been strangled, and her body was decomposing.

"An article that was found at the scene was one yellow ribbed sock, and that was found on top of the victim’s body," said Anthony Voci, supervisor of the homicide unit for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. 

Voci says the other sock was found in her boyfriend Theodore Donahue’s house. 

"When Ms. Kulb’s body was found in 1991, there was an article in the paper stating a woman had been found. No name, no identity, no details to exact location. Just found in a remote field in the Chadds Ford area, in the Birmingham Township area. And of all days, (he) picks that day to go to the victim’s home and return clothing that he had, that belonged to her, that she left in her apartment when they were living together. And he returned all of the clothing, with the exception of that sock," Voci explained. 

At the time, authorities questioned Donahue, who she lived with in East Falls. 

"Mr. Donahue not only made false statements about his last contact with the victim, but he also made statements to other people over the years about how she was murdered in Philadelphia. She was found dead in his apartment," Voci said. 

At the time, prosecutors couldn’t pin it on Donahue.

But they reopened the case in 2015 and reinterviewed witnesses and Donahue, who changed his story, they say, a third time. 

Authorities say he even told them his nickname is Ted Bundy — the notorious serial killer.

Police and prosecutors are continuing to investigate.

Donahue was recently working as a pizza delivery driver in Germantown. He's now behind bars and charged with murder, abuse of corpse and related offenses. 

His lawyer declined to comment.


For more on unsolved murders in Philadelphia, subscribe to the KYW Newsradio original podcast Gone Cold: Philadelphia Unsolved Murders, by Kristen Johanson and Tom Rickert. The latest episode takes a closer look at the only unsolved murder of a Philadelphia police officer. Listen below.