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Chisholm man charged in 1986 cold case after DNA breakthrough

The suspect lived near the victim and went to school with her children.
Michael Allan Carbo Jr. 

Michael Allan Carbo Jr. 

The man accused of killing a 38-year-old woman in Chisholm more than 30 years ago has been charged with murder.

Michael Allan Carbo Jr., 52, of Chisholm, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Nancy Daughtery in 1986. His bail was set at $1 million, according to St. Louis County Jail records.

Daugherty's case had gone cold until this year, thanks to the help of genealogy database analysts.  

“This case illustrates why no case is ever cold for us,” Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans said in a news release this week. “Every time we hit a dead end, investigators and scientists go back to the drawing board. Solving this case is proof of the value of tenacious work – even when it’s over a span of decades.”

At the time of her death, Daugherty worked as an aide in a local nursing home, was a part-time bartender and volunteered as a part-time EMT, charges say. She had plans to move to the Twin Cities to further her schooling, with the complaint noting she was set to leave Chisholm the morning her body was found. 

Nancy Dougherty

Nancy Daugherty

According to the criminal complaint, Dougherty was found dead in her home in Chisholm on July 16, 1986. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled. There was evidence of a struggle inside and outside her home.

Daugherty's body was found after her boyfriend called police after not being able to make contact with her, the complaint said. After a canvass of the neighborhood, investigators learned the day of Daugherty's killing that witnesses heard a woman screaming, the complaint said. 

DNA was recovered from the scene but did not match anyone in the criminal DNA database.

A break in the case came in early 2020 when a sample of DNA was sent to a company that specializes in genealogy to help generate leads in criminal cases. Through the company, Parabon, a decades-old DNA sample provided enough information to identify Carbo as the suspect.

At the time of Daugherty's death, Carbo was living less than a mile from her and attended school with her children, the complaint said. Carbo was 18 years old at the time. 

Investigators began surveilling him on July 23, at one point collecting items from his garbage and sending the items, which likely contained DNA, to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on July 24, 2020. 

The BCA determined Carbo's trash was a match to the bodily fluids found on the victim and at the scene. On July 29, investigators collected DNA from Carbo, which confirmed the match. 

After 34 years, he was arrested July 29 and charged in Daughtery's murder on July 30, the complaint says. 

He is due back in court Aug. 6, according to KARE 11. If convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison, charges note.

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