AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Police in Aurora have solved a cold case from 1996. The body of Tangie Sims was found on Oct. 24, 1996 about 8 a.m.

Tangie Sims

Tangie Sims (credit: CBS)

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Officers rushed to the alley near 12th and Iola Street where they found the body of Sims, 25.

The initial investigation showed Sims last seen walking near a semi truck. The suspect appeared to have cut himself during the murder and left drops of blood at the scene. Samples of the blood were collected for evidence.

The case went cold despite the best efforts of Major Crimes Homicide Unit Detectives Steve Conner and Michael Prince. They never stopped following up on leads and believed the best chance to solving the homicide would be through the recovered blood left by the suspect through DNA analysis.

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In 2019, advancements in DNA combined with genealogical research led to a break in the case. A possible suspect was found by comparing blood samples from the crime scene to known DNA from a close relative.

The leads took detectives Connor and Prince to multiple states where they were able to obtain DNA from the suspect’s immediate family.

Wesley Backman

Wesley Backman (credit CBS)

The United Data Connect Laboratory was able to positively identify Wesley Backman, 64, as the suspect in Sims’ murder. He died in 2008. Backman had been an over-the-road truck driver and had lived in many different locations, including Aurora.

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Conner and Prince continue to work with other police agencies across the country to determine if Backman was responsible for additional unsolved homicides.