Wisconsin authorities say that DNA and fingerprint analysis led them to a man accused of perpetrating a cold-case crime in the late 1990s. The man, an Illinois resident, has been charged in connection with a cold-case violent crime, in which a teen girl’s body was found in a Wisconsin marsh. He was arrested in Chicago on April 5, and he is being held on first-degree intentional homicide charges, along with allegations of hiding a corpse.

The defendant is accused of violent crimes in connection with the death of a 14-year-old girl who had run away from a juvenile shelter in January 1997. The girl was last seen leaving a party in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, during the week of her death. Two weeks later, the teen’s battered and assaulted body was discovered by two hunters in a nearby marsh.

Investigators say they were able to recover DNA from the victim’s body, and fingerprints were found on a plastic bag that was allegedly used to suffocate her. There had not been any breaks in the case until investigators in Oklahoma informed Wisconsin authorities that the man’s fingerprints matched those found on the bag; the man had been fingerprinted for some minor offenses. Detectives were eventually able to tail the man until they recovered a used cigarette, which they used for forensic DNA analysis; that lab-work showed that the defendant’s DNA matched that found at the scene. The investigation is still ongoing.

Criminal defendants who have been the targets of such surreptitious operations may have questions about their rights after they are arrested. Investigators are bound by ethical and legal restrictions while investigating rape and other violent crimes. Criminal defense attorneys may be able to help violent crimes defendants determine whether their rights have been violated by illegal search and seizure or other legal missteps.

Source: Fox News, “DNA ties man to 1997 murder of teenage runaway found in Wisconsin marsh” No author given, Apr. 08, 2014