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Suspect arrested in 1985 killing of TV director Barry Crane

Suspect arrested in 1985 killing of TV director Barry Crane
Suspect Edwin Hiatt after his arrest in Burke County, N.C. Hiatt has been charged with bludgeoning and strangling TV director Barry Crane more than three decades ago. The FBI arrested Hiatt after DNA evidence linked him to the 1985 killing in Los Angeles. (WSOC-TV / Associated Press)

A North Carolina man has been arrested in connection with the 1985 killing of Barry Crane, a prominent television director and bridge expert, who was found dead 34 years ago in his Studio City townhouse.

Edwin Hiatt was arrested Thursday by the FBI Fugitive Task Force in North Carolina and is awaiting extradition, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

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Crane directed shows including “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island” and “Dallas.” He was also a world-class champion bridge player who competed around the country. He was 57 at the time of his death.

Barry Crane is seen in 1980.
Barry Crane is seen in 1980. (Ernie Leyba / Denver Post)

A housekeeper discovered Crane’s body wrapped in bedding on the garage floor of his home in the 4200 block of Colfax Avenue; he appeared to have been bludgeoned and strangled, according to the LAPD.

His wallet and late-model Cadillac were missing, but there were no signs of any additional burglary or forced entry into the Studio City home, authorities said at the time of his death.

The case went unsolved for more than three decades.

In 2006 and again in 2018, an LAPD detective from the Robbery-Homicide Division requested that evidence be retested. Last July, the division received a forensic match to Hiatt, Crane’s suspected killer, the LAPD said.

On March 8, Los Angeles police detectives traveled to North Carolina and interviewed Hiatt. During the interview, he admitted to killing Crane, according to the LAPD.

The detectives presented the case to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, which filed one count of murder against Hiatt and issued an arrest warrant.

The News Herald of Morganton, N.C., reported that when a reporter with the North Carolina ABC affiliate WSOC-TV asked Hiatt whether he could have killed Crane, Hiatt responded, “Anything is possible back then because I was big into drugs.”

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