A Miami Housewife Tells Her “Dateline” Experience

Miami Life —Lois Whitman-Hess

If you are a “NBC Dateline” fan then you will want to meet my friend Gloria Winkowski who lives a few blocks away from me in Miami Beach. She was actually involved in solving a 40-plus year murder mystery that took place in Rochester, NY. She
appeared on Dateline on Friday, January 20 to discuss the case with NBC news correspondent Andrea Canning.

When Gloria first told me about the murder of her girlfriend in Rochester and how she was working with Dateline to tell the nation about what happened so long ago, I couldn’t believe my ears. My husband Eliot and I became huge Dateline fans during the Covid-19 pandemic when we were shut-ins. After a while we realized that most of the cases were about small town, husbands and wives, who killed their spouses to collect on life insurance policies.

That wasn’t the case with Gloria’s friend Kathy Krausneck who was murdered February 18, 1982. Gloria said her husband killed her because she was planning to leave him. Jim Krausneck was very abusive. He wasn’t going to let her go on her terms. He took an ax and plunged it into her head before he went to work that day at Eastman Kodak.

If that wasn’t bad enough, he also left his three year old daughter home alone while his wife was stretched out dead in her bloody bed. The little girl, who is now 40 years old, said she has no recollection of being by herself without food, water, and adult supervision. Her father wanted to make the scene look like an intruder busted into his home and killed his wife. He claimed that when he returned home that evening he was shocked to see what took place in his absence.

Gloria didn’t believe a word he said because Kathy had been telling her that she was basically living a life totally being controlled by her husband Jim. He didn’t allow her to talk on the telephone when he was home because he wanted her totally devoted to him. He also kept her captive at home everyday because he refused to buy a second car for her use. Kathy often relied on Gloria to drive her daughter to school, the doctor, and food shopping. Gloria said Jim was generally very nasty to Kathy.

It took 40 years and several marriages later for Jim to be convicted and sent to jail for the rest of his life. It sickens Gloria to think it took the Rochester police all those years to gather enough evidence to put him away. Smaller cities just do not have the investigation resources as bigger ones.

Gloria was also upset with Dateline. She felt they didn’t tell the true story of Jim Krausneck. They just gave the highlights to fit the two hour slot and never gave Kathy the justice she deserved. “She was a sweetheart and he was disturbed. Jim was under investigation at Eastman Kodak for claiming he had a PhD when he never finished the program. They kept asking him to see his documents but he never produced it. He was about to be fired. Dateline, with all of their resources, also never covered that fact and that the Krausneck dog was locked up in the basement for the day. That was something Kathy would never do.”

Gloria realizes that Dateline produces a shows for TV entertainment. She just wishes they showed more facts why Jim was the killer. It was bad enough that Gloria had to tolerate Jim being free for four decades while her girlfriend’s life was cut short.

Gloria lives with her husband Bill, a retired pharmacist, in Miami Beach. They have a beautiful life filled with their four adult children and 11 grandchildren.

Dateline is a newsmagazine that has been an airing staple since in 1992. Cases involving murders and missing people are frequent topics on the series that has won multiple Emmys in the news and documentary category.

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