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DNA Under Fingernails Leads To Arrest In 25-Year-Old Cold Case

DNA Under Fingernails Leads To Arrest In 25-Year-Old Cold Case

Sonya Dockery was found strangled to death in Detroit back in 1997

After 25 years, a Detroit man has been charged in connection to a woman's murder after 'significant' DNA was discovered.

On 1 December 1997, Sonya Dockery was found unresponsive on Sussex Street near James Couzens Service Drive with strangulation and lacerations to her neck. The 33-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.

For the past 25 years, her family feared it would be a mystery that would never be solved. However, new developments in the cold case have led to an arrest.

Johnny Yenshaw was arrested on suspicion of the murder.
Detroit Police Department

On Friday (1 April), 51-year-old Johnny Yenshaw was charged in connection with Dockery's death with one count of first-degree murder.

According to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, Yenshaw's DNA was discovered under her fingernails. He's been accused of fatally strangling her before fleeing the scene.

Attorney Carin Goldfarb said (as per Fox 2): "The level of DNA under her fingernails is really significant... we're talking about a struggle that’s a significant DNA from the defendant under her fingernails."

Goldfarb also said the investigator's report claimed Dockery was a sex worker, with Magistrate Malaika Ramsey-Heath saying: "Yes she may have engaged in sex with men but she died and somebody killed her."

Yenshaw's attorney requested bond, citing his clean record and the historic nature of the alleged crime. However, this was denied.

"We are requesting a personal bond even though it is a homicide case. We can ask for a tether but this incident happened in 1997 and he’s had no contact or convictions since 1998," the attorney said.

Ramsey-Heath responded: "There’s enough to cause me to believe there’s a significant amount of evidence in this case that I need to remand to protect the community and I’m going to do so at this time."

The discovery came after Dockery's family urged police to take another look a the case.

Jonathan Curry, Dockery's son, was two years old when she died. "I didn't think I'd ever see the day my mom's murderer got put away, ever," he said, although Yenshaw has not been found guilty of murdering Dockery.

Curry continued: "You spend 25 years wishing you could have a mother to say Happy Mother's Day, or happy birthday to you, or just so many Christmases, so many things I never got to share with my mother."

Later in life, he founded a production company named 7133, with the number 71 representing his grandmother who passed away at that age, and 33 for his mum.

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Featured Image Credit: DETROIT (FOX 2)

Topics: US News, Crime