Forensic genealogy helps solve 1986 cold case in Wisconsin

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Lisa Holstead was murdered 34 years ago, and police believe they have finally found the killer.

On Wednesday, Green Bay police arrested Lou Archie Griffin, 65. He has since been charged with first-degree international homicide, according to WPR.

“Solving a case like this is not just once in a lifetime for a detective, this is once in a generation for a whole squad room of detectives,” Police Chief Andrew Smith said.

Holstead was found in a swamp on Aug. 12, 1986, by construction workers. Her death was ruled a homicide by strangulation, according to court documents.

Police say suspect Griffin fits the profile. He lived in Green Bay at the time and was just released from prison for a sexual assault crime a month before Holstead’s murder, according to Fox 11.

“We do it for people like Lisa Holstead, who’s not there to tell us what happened,” Smith said.

Griffin was linked because his DNA matched a sample found on the scene.

He originally denied ever seeing Holstead, but when DNA proved he had had sex with her, he said he didn’t remember the encounter and didn’t kill her, according to Fox 11.

“Over the years, it’s been tested by the crime lab in the state of Wisconsin and also checked with the CODIS, which is the national database and it’s never came up as a match to anybody,” Detective David Graf said.

It was forensics genetic genealogy that helped investigators after all those years.

“Essentially what I did was I sent an extract of our DNA sample of our potential suspect to a lab- basically you’re doing a family tree in reverse,” Graf said.

Griffin is currently being held on a $1 million cash bond and is due in court Dec. 10.

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