Arrest made in 2000 killing of Baton Rouge woman

Cold case investigators arrested a Baton Rouge woman Friday in the 2000 stabbing death of her business partner after DNA testing linked her to the killing, police said.

Sonya Walls Kimber, 48, 3760 Cathedral Drive, was booked with second-degree murder and aggravated battery in the slaying of 35-year-old Monique Edwards. Kimber also is accused of stabbing Edwards’ daughter, who was 2 weeks old at the time and suffered minor injuries in the attack.

Kimber and Edwards had been close friends, graduated Capitol High School together, attended the same church and operated S&M Outreach Inc., a social service agency, family members said.

“It brings a lot of closure to my family,” Edwards’ father, Leonard C. Kinchen Sr., said of the arrest. “But it’s really a shock to me to find out that it’s somebody that was that close to us and that close to Monique.”

The stabbing happened Nov. 14, 2000, at Edwards’ 5825 Linden St. home. Edwards’ husband discovered her body when he returned from work that evening.

Police had few clues to go on at the time but surmised that Edwards may have known her attacker, as the home showed no signs of forced entry. Detectives found defensive wounds on Edwards’ hands, according to court records, as well as DNA that did not belong to her.

That DNA evidence was sent at some point to the State Police crime lab for testing and has been linked to Kimber, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Police also obtained a search warrant to take a sample of Kimber’s DNA.

In the days following the stabbing, witnesses and detectives noticed Kimber had scratch marks on her neck, which she claimed were the result of a fight, the affidavit says.

“Detectives have located a witness who was able to disprove the accused’s explanation of how she received the injuries,” the affidavit says.

Kinchen said he had seen Kimber since the stabbing but had not suspected her because of how close she was to his daughter. Kinchen said he prayed he would learn the identity of his daughter’s killer before he died, adding he is at peace now.

But the question of why anyone would take Edwards’ life remains unanswered, he said.

“If I were to get a chance to talk to (Kimber),” he said, “that would be the one question that I would ask her.”