A can of Coke ended up being the key to potentially solving a 40-year-old murder case that had gone cold, as reported by the New York Post.
Investigators in Colorado were able to collect DNA from a Vanilla Coke can found at the crime scene and compare it to other DNA already on file from other members of the suspect’s family, according to the New York Post (NYP).
The new technology, called genetic genealogy, involves a law enforcement agency partnering with another agency or a private company that agrees to share biological data when solicited by authorities, PBS reported. It then takes relevant DNA samples, and compares their profiles to find shared maternal and paternal links and build a family tree of sorts. However, some question just how accurate the new technique is, according to PBS.
— New York Post (@nypost) February 26, 2021
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was able to use this technique to track down 62-year-old David Anderson, who police say murdered Sylvia Quayle of Cherry Hills, Colorado, in August of 1981, CBS4 Denver reported. United Data Connect was the company that helped the FBI track down Anderson using other available biological data, as reported by Fox News.
Quayle’s body was discovered in her home by her father in 1981. She was covered in blood, red markings police said were “consistent with the shape of fingers,” and had several broken fingernails. Investigators discovered that before her death, the then-34-year-old Quayle had been sexually assaulted, 9News Denver reported.
Investigators also found that the phone wire had intentionally been cut and the screen to Quayle’s bathroom window was removed and thrown in the woods, NYP reported. (RELATED: Man Confesses To Killing Neighbor, Cutting Her Heart Out And Feeding It To His Family)
News of the murder rocked the community in 1981, according to Fox News, and law enforcement are relieved that Quayle’s family, and the town writ large, has some chance of finding closure. “It’s been a journey, and then getting to know Jo, and understanding, being a little sister and what Sylvia meant to her, it’s been a little breathtaking,” Cherry Hills Village Police Department Chief Michelle Tovrea said during a press conference, according to NYP.
Anderson was arrested Feb. 10 in Nebraska and now faces two counts of first degree murder, court records say, as reported by Fox News.
He could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years because he will be tried on statutes that were active in 1981, the district attorney said, according to NYP.