A drop of blood led to the arrest of a New York man suspected of murdering his former in-laws more than 30 years ago.
Michael Anthony Louise, 79, was taken into custody Thursday at his home in Syracuse on an arrest warrant for two first-degree murders.
He is charged with murdering George Peacock, 76, and Catherine Peacock, 73, at their home in Danby, Vermont, on September 17, 1989, the Vermont state police announced in a message. press release. The couple had been stabbed multiple times. Their bodies were discovered by a neighbor, police said.
Authorities said there were no signs of breaking into the house and no important items had been removed. Louise, who was married to one of the Peacock’s daughters, had been identified as a potential suspect about two weeks after the murders, but investigators were unable to establish a “conclusive link” that would tie him to the crime, the release said.
The murders remained unsolved until forensic tests in May 2020 “confirmed a DNA match with George Peacock on a bloodstain found in Louise’s car in October 1989,” police said.
“The blood sample had previously been tested during the investigation, as DNA testing technology was on the rise, and that earlier test was inconclusive,” the police said in the press release.
Louise is being held at the Onondaga County Justice Center until he is extradited to Vermont. It is not clear whether he has been given a lawyer.
Advances in DNA testing have been used to help law enforcement solve a slew of cold cases. Last month, a Missouri inmate serving a life sentence for killing a man was linked with the deaths of four women who disappeared in 1990 and 1991 after crime lab technicians found DNA from a small amount of viable evidence that had been collected.
The suspect, Gary Muehlberg, 73, was charged with four counts of first degree murder in connection with the deaths of Robyn Mihan, Brenda Pruitt, Donna Reitmeyer and Sandra Little.
In Pennsylvania, authorities were also able to crack a mother’s strangulation in 1988 after a breakthrough genetic genealogy technology linked DNA from the victim’s clothing to a saliva-sealed anonymous letter sent to a local newspaper about two years after the murder. was written. The DNA matched a man named Scott Grim, but he died of natural causes in 2018 at the age of 58.