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1981 Cold Case: David Dwayne Anderson Arrested For Murder Of Sylvia Quayle In Cherry Hills Village

CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo.  (CBS4) — Forty years after a woman was found murdered in her home in Cherry Hills Village, police have arrested a suspect. David Dwayne Anderson, 62, is accused of killing Sylvia Quayle.

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Sylvia Quayle (credit: Cherry Hills Village Police)

Her father found her body the morning of Aug. 4, 1981. She was nude and she had been strangled, stabbed and shot.

She was 35 years old at the time.

Sylvia Quayle (victim, Cherry Hills Cold Case, from 18th Judicial DA)
(credit: Cherry Hills Village Police)

Investigators collected and preserved 140 pieces of evidence from the scene.

Two years later, in 1983, investigators using alternate light source testing determined a piece of the area rug near the body contained potential foreign material.

In 1995, the rug was sent to CBI for testing.

In 2000, a male DNA profile was developed.

The identity of that man remained unknown until Jan. 29, 2021 -- after the Cherry Hills Police Department teamed up with Mitch Morrissey at United Data Connect to conduct genetic research.

Investigators took sequenced DNA from the scene and uploaded that data to two different general open source websites: Family Tree DNA and GEDmatch.

"We started to then get connected people that were related to the individual that we were looking for," explained Morrissey.

Morrissey said the "tree" they were looking at had over 3,300 people -- and it took a huge amount of effort to narrow that down to one suspect.

"It is extensive background work, we use DNA for that, we use all kinds of newspapers, public records, find out about these people and who they're related to, and eventually get it down to one suspect," Morrissey said.

Once they identified David Anderson, they had to test his DNA.

Jan. 18, investigators were able to get a DNA sample from Anderson -- by collecting his trash. On a discarded can of Vanilla Coke, they found DNA that matched the DNA found on the area rug.

Anderson was arrested on Feb. 10 in Nebraska and is expected to be returned to Colorado to face charges. Anderson faces two counts of first-degree murder. One alleges Quayle was killed after deliberation; the other alleges she was killed in the commission of another felony.

David Anderson (suspect, Cherry Hills Cold Case, from 18th Judicial DA)
(credit: 18th Judicial DA)

Morrissey said he wanted to investigate this case because he wanted justice.

"When I read this case and realize that her father found her, in the condition that I know she was in, the way that she was left, after being brutalized and killed," Morrissey said in a news conference on Thursday. "I can imagine, as a father myself of a young woman about this age, to have a morning like that."

"I know he's not here, and for me that's part of the hardest part of solving these 40 year old cases, and we've solved quite a few of them now, is that some of the people that want answers, they need closure, they don't get it. Because they're gone," Morrissey said.

"I am proud to be able to tell Sylvia's sister and brother-in-law that the men and women of our department have anticipated the opportunity to make this announcement for almost 40 years," Cherry Hills Village Police Chief Michelle Tovrea stated.

"My thoughts are with the family, we can only try to understand the deep pain and sense of loss you have experienced," Tovrea said. "I am pleased there is a path moving forward to seek justice in her death."



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