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52-year-old Sacramento County cold case solved with Genetic Genealogy

Authorities use Genetic Genealogy to identify Richard Davis as a suspect killer in 1970 stabbing
Authorities use Genetic Genealogy to identify Richard Davis as a suspect killer in 1970 stabbing 01:04

SACRAMENTO -- A breakthrough was announced today in Sacramento County's longest cold-case investigation.

More than five decades ago, Nancy Bennallack was murdered, and today a suspect was identified thanks to forensic genetic genealogy.

In 1970, Nancy Bennallack was sleeping in her Sacramento apartment when the Sheriff's office says she was murdered.

Investigators found Nancy's body with 30 stab wounds. It was 52 years ago, but her sister Linda Cox remembers it like it was yesterday.  

"I thought I'm going to die before they ever find who did this," said Cox.

She continued, "I had a bad gut feeling that something was terrible, and then we had to tell my mother, and that was even worse."

There was one major clue found at the crime scene, the Killer's blood.

"There was a blood trail leading out over the balcony onto the sidewalk... they had the foresight to collect it all keep it all," said Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert.

After a failed attempt at using DNA in 2004. Anne Marie Schubert says the case had a breakthrough. 

In 2019, Forensic Genetic Genealogy, the same technology used to find the Golden State Killer, was put to the test, and nearly three years later, it worked.

Linda got the call from Sgt. Mickey Links who dedicated her life to the case.

"She called and said we got a match. I got tears in my eyes," said Cox.

"We identified the suspect as Richard Davis...unfortunately Davis died in Sacramento County on November second, 1997...sadly there won't be any form of legal justice. But Linda and tom, I hope this brings you some peace," said Mickey Links, Retired Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy.

Since the Golden State Killer was arrested in 2018, California has solved 34 cases with genetic genealogy.

"DNA and genealogy are now the marriage between science and good police work," said Schubert.

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