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DNA solves 1994 cold case murder in Austin, leading police to suspect who died by suicide

Meet the DNA "detective" who helped solve a decades-old cold case
Meet the DNA "detective" who helped solve a decades-old cold case 04:53

Texas investigators made a breakthrough in a decades-old murder case — only for the suspect to die by suicide before he could be arrested, authorties said Thursday. 

Cold case detectives from the Austin Police Department said in a news release that they were investigating the 1994 death of Bert Allen Mann, who was fatally stabbed to death on his kitchen floor after someone forced entry through a sliding glass door. Mann and the suspect appeared to fight, causing the suspect to bleed inside the home, officials said. 

In 2005, detectives tested a blood stain from the scene for DNA and made a profile of an unidentified male. That profile was entered into the Combined DNA Index System, a national database, but no match was found. In March 2023, the profile was sent to Bode Technology, a company that does forensic genetic genealogy, which helps law enforcement identify potential suspects based on familial DNA evidence. 

In June 2023, Bode Technology identified a possible suspect. On Sept. 8,  Austin detectives executed a search warrant for that suspect's DNA to compare it to the DNA found inside the Mann home. 

However, on Sept. 13, the suspect, Kenneth Robbins, was found dead inside his work truck. Autopsy results concluded that he died by suicide, the Austin Police Department said in a news release.  

The Austin Police Department solved the 1994 cold case murder of Bert Allen Mann (left) by identifying the suspect, Kenneth Wayne Robins (right), through advances in DNA technology. APD via KEYE-TV

DNA taken from Robbins confirmed that he was the person who had left DNA inside Mann's residence the night of the killing, officials said, allowing the department to consider the case solved almost 30 years later. The department said that over 20 detectives have been a part of the case over the years, as well as other investigators and technicians. 

Mann is survived by his widow and sister, the Austin Police Department said. 

Austin police give update on 1994 cold case murder

WATCH: Austin PD holds press conference on 1994 cold case murder of Bert Allen Mann.

Posted by CBS Austin on Thursday, February 8, 2024
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