DNA, fingerprint evidence leads to arrest of Minnesota man in Texas cold case


DNA and fingerprint evidence led to the arrest of a Minnesota man in connection with a 31-year-old fatal stabbing long considered a cold case.

Robert A. Otteson was taken into custody at his Lakeville home Monday by authorities from both Minnesota and Texas – the state in which he's accused of stabbing a man 35 times in a hotel room in 1983, according to the Minnesota criminal complaint.

The 53-year-old Otteson appeared in Dakota County court Thursday. WCCO reports he will not fight extradition to Texas, where he was indicted by a grand jury last week.

FOX 9 reported the man had been living in the metro suburb with his wife and children since the 1990s.

Otteson's attorney told the Star Tribune the family is in "a really difficult situation," describing Otteson's wife as "gobsmacked" and requesting privacy.

Otteson was described by nearby residents as a good neighbor, the Star Tribune adds.

According to the Pioneer Press, he works as a mechanic for Xcel Energy, and doesn't have a significant criminal history – just traffic citations.

Authorities in Denton County, Texas – just outside of Dallas – have 10 days to collect him, FOX 9 reports.

Blood, fingerprint evidence credited for breakthrough

Francisco Narvaez, 42, (pictured above) was stabbed to death in a motel room in Denton on Sept. 30, 1983, Oklahoma’s NewsOn6 reported. According to the criminal complaint, he was struck 35 times, in the chest, neck, face, hands and back. The suspect then fled in Narvaez's car.

The station said the vehicle was later found northeast of Oklahoma City. A police sketch, seen above, was issued at the time.

The San Antonio businessman's murder was long considered a cold case. The Denton Police Department investigated Narvaez’s death when it happened, “but as time went on the tips and leads went cold,” the department said in a statement Wednesday.

But a new lieutenant and new technology changed things.

According to the criminal complaint:

Blood samples and other evidence were obtained from the murder scene when it happened, as were fingerprints.

In 2010, a Denton County lieutenant was assigned to the case. He obtained the stored evidence and brought it to the North Texas Health Science Lab in Fort Worth for testing. A year later, the lab notified authorities they discovered two profiles in the evidence, which included a blood stain located in the shower of the crime scene: one was the victim, the other an unidentified male.

In 2013, "recent enhancements" led the lab to match fingerprints at the scene with Otteson.

Evidence was taken from garbage at Otteson's home, and his DNA profile was found to be a "major contributor" to nail clippings and blood stains found at the crime scene.

Otteson was indicted on Aug. 7, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Denton County authorities say they will extradite him.

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