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Police solve a 40-year-old murder using DNA testing

WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Sept. 26, 2023
WCCO digital headlines: Morning of Sept. 26, 2023 01:12

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- Police solve a nearly 40-year-old murder after matching a 2018 DNA profile to a disposed plastic cup.

Matthew Brown, 66, was arrested in June for the murder of a man in 1984. 

On July 19, 1984 at approximately 2:30 a.m., police responded to multiple 911 calls from an apartment building on the 3200 block of Girard Avenue South in Minneapolis. 

RELATED: DNA left on disposable cup led Minneapolis police to 1984 cold case murder suspect Matthew Brown

According to a criminal complaint, upon arrival police were met by two women. One woman was bleeding from a cut on the left side of her face and the other woman was uninjured but in an extreme state of duress. 

They reported to police that an unknown man had broken into their apartment and attacked them with a knife, said the criminal complaint. 

During a search of the apartment, police found the body of a man on the floor near the bedroom doorway. An autopsy later revealed the victim had suffered multiple fatal stab wounds to his face, head, chest, back, and shoulders. 

RELATED: Minneapolis police arrest Illinois man in connection to 1984 murder


The criminal complaint then states that police discovered a path of blood leading out an exit in the kitchen, appearing to not have come from the victim. Forensics collected blood samples from the kitchen floor, hallway exit, and back exit doorknob. 

At the time, police had no leads. 

Then, in 2018, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension developed a DNA profile from the blood collected from the crime scene in 1984. Over the next few years, investigators worked with genealogists and determined the profile matched Brown, per the criminal complaint. 

In March of 2023, police collected a disposed plastic cup used by Brown and compared it against the DNA profile created from the crime scene. Officers determined the profiles match, said the criminal complaint. 

Brown is currently being held on a $2 million bail at the Hennepin County Jail. A trial date has not been set.  

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