Police Solve Cold Murder Case Using Advanced DNA Technology — 42 Years Later
Advanced DNA technology has helped solve a murder cold case from over 40 years ago.
Paul Nuttal, a 64-year-old living in Las Vegas, was arrested for the 1980 murder and sexual assault of Sandra DiFelice. The victim was 25 years old at the time of her murder on December 26 of that year.
The Las Vegas Police Department said in a statement that new evidence was submitted in the case for additional DNA testing in February 2021.
Nuttal, who was charged with open murder using a daily weapon, assault with a deadly instrument, and burglary while possessing a deadly weapons, was taken into custody last Wednesday.
Lt. Jason Johansson, a newsconference , stated that new DNA technology was capable of matching Nuttal’s DNA to DNA found under the victim’s fingers.
Authorities noted that Nuttal was originally considered to be a person of interest in the murder, but he was cleared on the account that he knew DiFelice’s roommate, which explained why his fingerprints were found at the scene of the crime. The four-decade-old case was declared cold by police after this revelation.
DiFelice’s case is not the first this year to have such a breakthrough.
In May, police in Wisconsin were able to solve a 13-year-old murder cold case of a baby by submitting DNA from the crime scene to a genealogy website, which listed numerous family members and gave police a pool to start a new investigation. It is not clear what new technology was used to solve DiFelice’s murder or if it was just general advances in sample size.
” Every law enforcement agency in the country has unsolved cases. Recent advances in DNA technology could help solve them. Today, investigators who understand which evidence may yield a DNA profile can identify a suspect in ways previously seen only on television,” the National Institute of Justice explained in a report. “Evidence that is invisible to the naked eye may be the key to solving a residential crime, sexual assault, or murder. The key to solving a crime may be found in the saliva on a stalker’s threatening letter, the sweat on a rapist’s mask, or the skin cells that have been shed on the ligature from a strangled child. “
Nuttal currently is being held at Clark County Detention Center.
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