BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) — Investigators in Boulder County say the 1970 rape and murder of 23-year-old Betty Lee Jones has been solved using genetic genealogy.
The newlywed mother of two was found down the side of an embankment on Highway 128, near the Boulder County/Jefferson County line, by two CDOT workers. She had been bound, sexually assaulted, strangled and shot.
The suspect, identified as Paul L. Martin, died in 2019.
Ms. Jones was last seen alive on March 8, 1970, in the street in front of the Denver home she shared with her husband of nine days, Robert Ray Jones. After days of arguing, investigators say Robert Jones left in his car, and Ms. Jones flagged down a car in the street. She got into a blue sedan that was last seen going southbound on York Street.
In 2006, the case was reopened and evidence which was recovered from Jones’ body was submitted to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). A male DNA profile was developed, but the suspect’s profile was not in the national Combined DNA Index System database.
In 2019, the suspect DNA was submitted to a private lab, Bode Technologies, where a profile was developed. The FBI’s Forensic Genetic Genealogy Team was enlisted and helped develop a family tree. The suspect’s generation in that family tree was identified and more fully developed. All offspring were identified and eliminated, except one daughter.
The CBI, also working on the forensic genealogy, identified the woman, her husband, and her two sons, who would have been in their twenties at the time of the murder, and who lived in Denver at the time. One son was still living and DNA swabs were obtained. He told investigators about an estranged third brother, Paul.
The missing brother, identified as Paul Leroy Martin, was found to have died in June 2019, and had been interred in Fort Logan National Cemetery. Martin was exhumed and a biological sample was sent to the CBI Lab.
On April 24, 2020, the CBI Forensic Sciences Biological Unit notified the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office that the sample collected from Betty Jones’ body and Paul L. Martin were a match.
Martin has no known link to Betty Lee Jones, and the name was not in any of the original reports or in the original officers’ notes. However, according to his brother, Martin did drive a blue Plymouth Fury sedan.
“Based on the evidence and DNA analysis produced through this investigation, if he were alive today, Paul Martin would be charged and prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office for the murder of Betty Jones,” investigators stated.
This is not the first cold case Colorado investigators have solved using genetic genealogy. Last month, investigators solved the 1963 murder of Peggy Beck — identifying her killer as James Raymond Taylor. And, last year, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office announced the suspect in the 1980 homicide of Helene Pruszynski had been identified using genetic genealogy.