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Bedford Police Use Kinship DNA Analysis To Solve 1986 Cold Case Murder Of Janet Love

BEDFORD (CBSDFW.COM) — After more than 35 years police in Bedford know who murdered Janet Elaine Love in her apartment -- now they want to know if her assailant had more victims.

It was on April 24, 1986 when Love was found dead in her apartment off of L. Don Dodson Drive by two co-workers. During the investigation, police were able to determine an unknown person had entered the 32-year-old's apartment, sexually assaulted her, and fatally shot her.

Investigators followed up on leads through the years, but a suspect could not be identified. Fortunately, a DNA profile had been collected from the scene, processed, and later entered in the FBI Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

It wasn't until the end of 2020 when Bedford police learned of a DPS grant called the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project. The grant uses funds from the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct forensic genetic genealogy testing of DNA samples from unknown offenders that are linked to sexually related homicides.

With the help of a genealogist and public records, detectives were able to use the DNA profile to piece together a family tree of the suspect. After coming up with the suspect's name, detectives then requested the help of two family members to confirm the suspect's identity through a kinship analysis conducted by the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification.

In September, police identified Ray Chapa as the person who took Janet Love's life. Chapa lived in a neighboring apartment complex less than 1,000-feet away from the Delta Airlines ticket agent at the time of the homicide.

"Chapa had no known ties to the victim and was never considered a suspect until DNA technology revealed the truth," Bedford Police Chief Jeff Williams said. "We are 100 percent sure this is the person who committed this terrible crime."

But the information came too late for prosecution. In January 2021, Chapa passed away from a terminal illness. Detectives are now working with the FBI to look at other possible offenses he could be connected to across the country. In addition to North Texas, Chapa also lived in Chicago and Montana.

Both the families of Janet Love and Ray Chapa have asked for privacy at this time.

Investigators believe Chapa may be connected to additional crimes. If you have any additional information, please call the Bedford Police Department at 817-952-2647.

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