• Back Road Mysteries Staff

Thirty year-old mystery of University of Tennessee veterinary dean shooting remains unsolved

Dr. Hyram Kitchen, dean of the veterinary school at the University of Tennessee, was killed in 1990. Ambushed in his driveway at his home in north Knox County, Tennessee while on his way out for an early morning meeting, the doctor was shot eight times – twice in the back of the head.

Kitchen was a controversial figure in the world of veterinary medicine. He pioneered many drugs and techniques involving birth control, including implants in various species and he had parlayed his research and work into a post as Dean of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee. His unorthodox methods in laboratory research on animals spurred rumors that his murder was linked to militant animal rights groups.

On the morning if his death, Kitchen exited his vehicle --to either confront someone or open the gate--and the shooter walked up and shot him eight times, including the two kill shots. Nine casings were located at the crime scene by law enforcement.

Kitchen’s wife, Yvonne, told authorities she heard gunshots and called police. She said she had been too frigtned by the incident to o outsitde until police arrived.

The car still running when deputies found Kitchen dead nearby.

The FBI closed its investigation of Kitchen’s murder more than 25 years ago, but his assailants remain unknown. Police could not connect the murder to militant animal-rights activists but did acknowledge that there were rumors about extremists on a witch hunt for individuals like Kitchen.

If you are aware of any leads associated with Kitchen's murder, please contact the Knoxville Police Department, 865-215-7000.

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