Colorado cold case solved more than 4 decades after homicide

December 4, 2020 GMT

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — The killing of a young woman in Colorado that went unsolved for nearly 45 years has been solved, police said.

The Grand Junction Police Department said Wednesday that DNA technology confirmed the identity of the primary suspect in the death of 19-year-old Deborah Tomlinson in December 1975, The Gazette reports.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigations confirmed a DNA profile identified Jimmie Dean Duncan, who was 26 years old at the time of the killing.


Duncan died in 1987, but investigators compared a mouth swab from one of his relatives to crime scene samples, police said.

Tomlinson was found dead in an apartment in Grand Junction, 243 miles (391 kilometers) west of Denver. Investigators determined she was sexually assaulted and strangled, but the initial inquiry exhausted all leads and tips, police said.

The case was given a “fresh look” in 2019 by detectives who sought assistance from Parabon NanoLabs Inc., a DNA technology firm near Washington, D.C.

Parabon analyzed genetic information gathered at the crime scene, which presented several leads for investigators who then used “traditional police work” to link the evidence to Duncan, authorities said.

“Solving these types of cases is very important to our detectives and our agency,” Grand Junction Chief of Police Doug Shoemaker said in a statement. “While not every case is solved, we are proud of the hard work put forth by those who helped provide answers to the victim’s family and our community in as many cases as possible.”