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Knife found on O.J. Simpson property being tested by LAPD

In this May 16, 2013, file photo, O.J. Simpson listens during an evidentiary hearing in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas. (Julie Jacobson / Associated Press)
Joseph Serna Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – In another twist in the long-running O.J. Simpson saga, Los Angeles police are investigating and testing a knife that was recovered on property once owned by the former football star.

The elite Robbery Homicide Division is investigating a buck knife now in possession of the department.

The knife was apparently turned over to a police officer a number of years ago by a person working construction at the property, a law enforcement source said.

Detectives more recently learned of the knife’s existence and are now investigating where it came from, according to the source, who cautioned that the investigation is still in its early stages.

Finding the knife that killed Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman had been an obsession of police and others in the wake of the 1994 murders.

Authorities searched for the murder weapon for months after the slayings, and there have been many leads that went cold.

A 15-inch knife with a retractable blade that Simpson purchased at Ross Cutlery in downtown Los Angeles briefly tantalized prosecutors in his criminal trial. They thought it might be the murder weapon, and even asked a coroner to compare that type of blade with the slicing, stabbing wounds in the killings. The fact that no one could locate the knife only added to the intrigue.

But the defense produced the knife – in an envelope that became known as the “mystery envelope” in the preliminary hearing. Forensic tests later revealed that the knife was in pristine condition, with no scratches or bloodstains to suggest it had been used in the vicious June 12, 1994, double homicide.

Prosecutors in Simpson’s criminal trial never introduced it as evidence.

In 1994, a woman discovered a kitchen knife smeared with red stains less than a block from Simpson’s home.

A blood-soaked glove police believed was used during the killings was found at Simpson’s house. But whether it fit Simpson’s hand became a famously debated point during the trial.

A jury found Simpson not guilty in the murders.

When the new owners of Simpson’s Brentwood estate decided to raze it in 1998, a man involved in the construction joked in an interview with the Los Angeles Times: “We haven’t found the knife yet.”

Existence of the knife was first reported by TMZ.