Investigators arrested a 60-year-old Dallas man on a capital murder charge in the 1984 killing of a 21-year-old woman after linking him to the crime through genealogical databases, prosecutors said.
Edward Morgan was arrested in the killing of Mary Jane Thompson, who was also sexually assaulted, the Dallas County district attorney's office said Friday.
Morgan was being held Friday at the Dallas County jail, CBS DFW reported. Bond was not yet listed for him, nor was an attorney.
Thompson, an aspiring model who worked at a florist's shop and a restaurant, moved to Dallas about six months before her February 1984 death, the Dallas Morning News reported. She previously lived in Houston and Los Angeles.
Thompson was last seen two days before she was found dead behind a warehouse, strangled by her own leg warmers. She had been taking a bus to a medical clinic that turned out to be closed, the newspaper reported.
Prosecutors said Dallas police reopened the case in 2009 and that DNA testing was done on swabs from the autopsy. A male DNA profile was identified but never matched to a specific suspect and the case went cold again.
After police opened the case again in 2018, they worked with a team from the district attorney's office and the FBI. Prosecutors said Morgan was identified as a suspect through technology that uses genealogical websites to identify potential relatives of a suspect based on DNA collected at a crime scene. DNA testing confirmed this week that he matched the profile taken from the autopsy in 1984.
"Working together, we continue to solve the most difficult cold cases that Dallas has ever seen," said Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Leighton D'Antoni. "I look forward to working with all our local law enforcement agencies to utilize the advancements in forensic testing techniques to identify, arrest, and prosecute the most dangerous predators hiding among us. We never, ever forget about these cases, our victims, and their families."
After the arrest, Thompson's sister posted several messages and a montage of family photos on Facebook, writing that authorities "found the guy that killed my sister 38 years ago."
"Missing you sis on Friday when i got that call i been waiting 38 years for," Selena Tomasello wrote. "He will be in jail for the rest of his life he is (no) longer free as a bird i know you are looking down."
Tomasello posted multiple messages about her sister over the years, including one in 2014, marking 30 years since her death.
"Mary Jane Thompson you are loved and missed. I am sorry I was not there for you when you needed me. I hope they find the man who killed you 30 years ago so you can rest in peace. Love you sis - rip," she wrote.
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