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DNA found on letter solves 34-year-old unsolved murder

DNA found on letter solves 34-year-old unsolved murder

Police solved a decades-old murder using advanced genetic testing, only to find the culprit had passed away in 2018

An unsolved murder which has baffled authorities for 35 years has finally been solved after DNA evidence was found on a letter sent by the killer to a local newspaper.

Anna Jean Kane, 26, was found dead along the Ontelaunee Trail in Perry Township, Pennsylvania after having been beaten and strangled with bailing twine in Pennsylvania on the afternoon of 23 October 1988.

Following the murder, DNA evidence was gathered from the clothes Ms Kane was wearing at the time of her death, although the trail went cold after the only conclusions that could be drawn from the tests was that the killer was male.

PA Police Dept

However, more clues emerged sixteen months later when a local newspaper, the Reading Eagle, ran a story on the murder and recieved an anonymous letter from a 'concerned citizen' which included 'numerous intimate details' about the killing, State Police Trooper Daniel Womer said at a press conference on Thursday, according to NBC News.

“This led investigators to believe that whoever wrote the letter had committed the homicide,” Womer said. 

Further tests confirmed that the saliva used to seal the envelope was a DNA match with the samples found on Ms Kane’s clothes.

Now, advancements in DNA genetic genealogy technology have cracked the case.

Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia - who have been instrumental in solving a number of cold cases - conducted a series genetic genealogy tests using the DNA profile to identify Scott Grim, 58, as a possible suspect.

Police then cross-referenced the profile with a direct sample of Grim’s DNA, with additional testing confirming that all three samples were a direct match.

Grim passed away in 2018 of natural causes.

PA State Police Dept

"The fact that he is deceased means he will never face justice as we all would hope for this homicide, but we solved it," said Berks County District Attorney John Adams. 

"We gave some closure to the family."

Grim was a native of Hamburg, Pennsylvania and would have been 26 years old at the time of Ms Kane's death. 

It is believed he may have been a client of Ms Kane, who was working as a prostitute at the time.

The Reading Eagle described Kane as a mother of three. She had lived in Reading, but had moved to the Birdsboro area shortly before she was murdered, officials said.

In a press conference outlining their findings, Adams praised authorities for their diligent work in solving the case.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677 

Featured Image Credit: PA State Police Dept

Topics: Crime, True crime