Truck Driver Who Died In 1999 Fire Identified As Perpetrator In 34-Year-Old Cold Case, Authorities Say

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A truck driver who died in a 1999 fire was identified as the perpetrator of a 1988 killing, according to a news release from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Warren Robertson was identified as Diane Lynn Dahn’s killer using DNA testing and familial samples, the sheriff’s release indicated. A tow truck driver, Robertson lived in the same apartment complex as Dahn in Santee, California. Robertson and Dahn also both attended stock car races at the El Cajon Speedway, though investigators did not determine that the pair knew each other, according to the release.

Originally from Arkansas, Robertson moved to California and then moved again to Indiana following Dahn’s murder. He lived in Indiana until he died in a house fire in November 1999, also according to the release.

The San Diego County Homicide Unit investigated Dahn’s death after her body was discovered by a co-worker when she failed to show up for work on May 2, 1988. Investigators determined that Dahn had been bludgeoned and stabbed. The stab wounds to her chest were the cause of death, the release said.

DNA testing conducted in 2000 and 2001 using a sample from under Dahn’s fingernails did not lead investigators to a suspect. Subsequent testing conducted in 2010 using a hair found in the deceased’s hand matched the previous sample but also did not help identify her killer. (RELATED: Police Arrest Suspect In Unsolved Murder Case From 43 Years Ago)

In 2020, investigators used investigative genetic genealogy including DNA testing and familial samples, which led them to Robertson, according to the release. Additional testing determined the DNA found on Dahn’s body belonged to Robertson.

Dahn worked for the San Diego Transit Corporation at the time of her death, NBC News reported. She also had a son who was two years old when she died. He was found wandering around the apartment complex where she lived when her body was discovered, the outlet said.

Authorities said Robertson was never mentioned in any reports related to Dahn’s murder, according to NBC San Diego. They also did not believe Robertson had ever been contacted about the case.