COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Investigators say they have solved a murder case decades old, and the evidence led them to Colorado.
“This was the last picture taken of her,” Cindy Borgeson said.
More than 45 years later, and she finally has answers about the death of her sister.
“I never really thought they would find the individual. I never thought that would happen,” she said.
In 1973, 11-year-old Linda O’keefe was kidnapped while walking home from summer school in Newport Beach California. Her body was found the next day, but the case would go cold until now with the arrest of 72-year-old James Alan Neal in Colorado Springs.
Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis explained what led to a break in the case.
“Our investigators used forensic DNA testing and an online genealogy website to identify the suspects DNA as being consistent being left at the crime scene,” he said.
Neal was identified using the online site “Family Tree,” but a variety of similar databases exist and are now used by investigators.
“What law enforcement is doing is they are submitting their profiles from their crime scenes to see if there someone related to the person I’m looking for,” Mitch Morrissey said.
Morrissey is the co-founder of United Data Connect, one of the only familial DNA searching company’s in Colorado. As more people use those sites, law enforcement agencies are seeing more success closing cold cases.
“Those databases have grown to a size now where they have a lot of information in them that help law enforcement,” he said.
There has yet to be a cold case here in Colorado solved using this type of data, but Morrissey says his company is working with several agencies considering it.