The murder of Duluth teenager Carolyn Andrew has remained unsolved for almost 34 years, but police say the case has now been cracked thanks to advances in DNA technology.
The 17-year-old was discovered in a shallow grave at Twin Ponds, near Enger Park, on May 6, 1981, having been killed by a single bullet wound to the head, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
While there is no answer to the how and the why of Andrew's murder, her friends and relatives now at least have the identity of the man thought to be responsible for the killing.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Duluth Police Department have announced they have linked DNA found on the aspiring model's body to Cecil Wayne Oliver.
According to the Northland News Center, Oliver died from a single gunshot wound to the head in 1988, at the age of 30.
"Through excellent evidence collection and preservation along with solid investigative work done at the onset of this tragic case we were able to bring it a conclusion with the help of modern technology," Duluth Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsey said in the news release.
How the case was solved
Over the years, advances in DNA testing enabled investigators to build a full DNA profile of the suspect based on the male DNA found on Andrew's body, police say.
No matching profiles were found in state or national DNA databases during previous searches, but another search in March 2014 discovered a partial match to a known offender, meaning the suspect in the Andrew murder was likely to be a close relative of that person.
This led investigators to Oliver, who according to WJON, lived in Duluth at the time of Andrew's death, and prompted authorities to obtain permission to get a DNA sample from his remains.
This sample matched the DNA found on Andrew's body.
The Andrew murder
Andrew's body was found facedown, partially submerged in Twin Ponds, having died from a single, small-caliber bullet to her head, the DPS release notes.
She left her parents' house on Farley Lane, in the Woodland Area of Duluth, at 8 p.m. on the evening of May 5 to walk to the nearby Ridgeview Lanes bowling alley to meet friends, the release says.
But she never arrived at the bowling alley and her body was spotted the next day at around 2.15 p.m. by a passerby below Skyline Parkway.
Investigators believe that Andrew and Oliver had an encounter the night before her disappearance at the Cove Bar in Superior, the Duluth News Tribune says, with witnesses describing a man named "Cecil" repeatedly talking to Andrew and trying to get her phone number.
While there are still unanswered questions about her murder, the discovery of the DNA match to Oliver means police have officially closed the case.