WILLMAR, Minn. (FOX 9) - Newly uncovered DNA evidence has linked a 79-year-old South Dakota man to the cold case murder of an elderly woman in Willmar, Minnesota, police announced on Thursday.
The suspect is now being held in jail in Sioux Falls awaiting extradition to Minnesota for the death of Mabel "Mae" Agnes Boyer Herman. Her body was discovered on the 800 block of 6th Street SW in Willmar on the night of January 27, 1974.
Police had responded to Herman's home for a welfare check called in by a family member worried Herman was not answering her phone. Inside, officers found the 74-year-old woman dead from multiple stab wounds.
A decades-long investigation followed Herman's death by the Willmar Police Department and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. However, no suspects were arrested until Thursday.
Police say the investigation was restarted in June when Willmar police launched a temporary cold case team.
Among the cases took a second look at was the death of Mae Herman. Reviewing case records, officers learned that the now-79-year-old suspect had been listed as a suspect in the weeks after the murder but evidence and interviews were inconclusive.
However, as the case was reviewed, officers say he again arose as a significant suspect in the case.
While reviewing the murder weapons, officers say they were able to pull DNA from several items that were preserved after the murder. The DNA was run through a database but no match was found.
However, with help from South Dakota authorities, Willmar police were able to get a warrant to take a DNA sample from the 79-year-old suspect.
On July 17, tests showed the DNA from the man matched the DNA from the evidence. The man was taken into custody on Thursday.