Cold murder cases are a tough pill to swallow for law enforcement, the public and most importantly, the families of the victims. But, as forensic science continues to advance, seemingly unsolvable open cases are now being cracked.
With the solving of these cases, families finally receive what they’ve yearned for. And that is – closure.
Here are three recently solved cold murder cases.
San Diego Murder
In February 1992, 84-year old Angela Kleinsorge was murdered in her San Diego residence after suffering multiple stab wounds to her neck. The victim’s killing shocked and horrified the residents of her quiet university neighborhood.
Utilizing the standard DNA testing technique’s available in 1992, investigators were unable to locate a match in the California offender database. Eventually, the well of suspects ran dry, and the case went cold. That is – until July 2016.
In the summer of 2016, both the San Diego Police Department and District Attorney’s office submitted a request to the US Department of Justice. The request? A thorough familial DNA testing protocol.
A familial DNA search allows local law enforcement to cast a large net using national databases. The familial DNA protocol also broadens the search parameters to include the close relatives of people who may be guilty of the underlying crime.
After conducting a familial DNA search concerning Ms. Kleinsorge’s murder, it was determined that there was a strong likelihood that her killer was the brother of a convict, who had recently died. Upon learning this information, law enforcement narrowed down the suspects to the convict’s two brothers – one was alive, while the other died years prior in a motorcycle accident.
Through DNA evidence, the living brother was cleared of any wrongdoing. It was eventually determined that the killer was Jeffrey Falls – the brother who died in a motorcycle crash. Although the killer was never tried and convicted, he did seem to get his due. And, the victim’s family had their closure.
New Orleans Street Performer
After 43 years alluding justice, police finally caught the man who killed Freddie Farah (34) in May of 1974. Farah was fatally shot while working at the food store in which he owned.
On the day of the murder, Farah was working at the checkout counter when a man approached him with a gun, demanding money. Farah swiped at the gun, and then the perp shot him dead. The killer fled and continued living his life for another 43 years.
In 1973, the fingerprint system in place was archaic compared to the modern technique. So, although, the suspect left his fingerprints on the counter, the police were unable to identify the killer. And, the case went cold.
Then, in December 2016, the murder file was reopened. And, through the use an eyewitness account from a 14-year old customer (who’s now 57). As well as advanced fingerprint analysis techniques, and database searching, the suspect was identified as Johnie Lewis Miller.
Miller relocated to New Orleans in the early 1990s, and had become somewhat of a local celebrity. At the time of his arrest in May 2017, he had established himself as “Uncle Louie”, a well-known street performer in New Orleans’ famed French Quarter. Tourists will have to seek alternative entertainment, as this 60-year old killer has surely seen the last of his street performing days.
The Los Angeles Holiday Killings
In what the Los Angeles Police Chief called a set of “horrifying” crimes, justice was eventually served. On Easter Sunday in 2011, a 17-year old girl named Michelle Lonzano was kidnapped near her home on the eastside of Los Angeles. Later that year, on the day after Christmas, 22-year old Bree’anna Guzman was also abducted in the same vicinity as the crime against Lonzano.
A day after her Easter abduction, Lonzano’s sexually assaulted body was found discarded on the side of the 5 Freeway. Guzman’s body, also sexually assaulted, was found a month after her abduction. Her body was discovered lying on the side of the same freeway where the other victim’s body was found.
Law enforcement spent years following leads, and utilizing every known protocol in searching DNA databases. Unfortunately, the killer’s DNA was not found in any database. The LAPD finally got a break when their request for a familial DNA search was granted.
The familial DNA search led to Geovanni Borjas’ father – a man who had been arrested in his younger years. This discovery breathed new life into the case. A surveillance team was immediately put on the suspected killer. While being followed, Borjas spit on the ground. His saliva was quickly collected by police.
Upon conducting a DNA analysis of his spit, it was concluded that Borjas was the killer. He was arrested in May 2017 – six years after his brutal rape and murder of two young women.
Forensic science has once again proved to be an invaluable resource in helping law enforcement lock up killers. Are you familiar with any cold cases that were solved using advancements in forensics?
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I love reading about cold cases. I’ve recently completed my 7th Forensic Science and Criminal Justice course and found cold case investigations so interesting and also investigations into miscarriages of justice where new technology and modern DNA and forensics helped solve or prove innocence. Wonderful stuff. So helpful to me as a writer. Enjoy your posts so much, thanks.
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Wow, that’s fantastic that you take classes on forensics. It really does help with fiction. Thank you so much Jane for stopping by 🙂
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I try. It helps. Thanks. Am often dropping in..
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