BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas -- The longest unsolved murder case in Brazos County is getting another look.
Virginia Freeman, a real estate agent, was killed on December 1, 1981 after meeting a man who said he was looking to buy property off of Greens Prairie Road, south of College Station.
More than three decades later, Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk revealed two new composite pictures of Freeman's alleged killer at a press conference on Tuesday.
The computer-animated sketches were completed by Snapshot, a forensic analysis service that can recreate a person's face based on a DNA sample. The company used DNA found under Freeman's fingernail to generate a sketch of the alleged killer in 1981 and, using age progression, also created an image of what the suspect would look like today.
"It's going to help you figure out who does and doesn't match that DNA sample, but you're going to use it in conjunction with lots of other information," said Ellen Greytak, Director of Bioinformatics for Parabon, the company responsible for Snapshot. And, at the end it's going to be that DNA match that actually's going to lead to a conviction."
Sheriff Kirk, who had been promoted to peace officer three months prior to Freeman's murder, agreed to partner with Snapshot in early 2017.
"One of our investigators had seen the technology presented at a conference that they were at and came back and explained it to us," said Kirk.
According to Greytak, Snapshot has been used in over 100 cases. One of those cases has successfully been used during the judicial process with others pending.
"We're making this information aware to the community to make sure they know that we're doing everything possible to solve this crime," said Kirk.
Freeman's murder was the first crime scene Sheriff Kirk worked with the Brazos County Sheriff's Office (BCSO). He photographed the "traumatic scene," recalling that it was a "heinous crime."
Freeman's husband reported his 40-year-old wife missing three hours after she didn't return home. He later found her lifeless body behind the vacant home. An autopsy report showed that the mother of two had been stabbed multiple times, strangled and bludgeoned with a four pound rock.
Before Tuesday, investigators had followed hundreds of leads into the case, including collecting over a dozen samples from persons of interests living in, at least, four states.
"We have a very sincere desire to bring the person who committed this heinous crime to justice," said Kirk.
The BCSO use of Snapshot to help solve Freeman's case will be featured in an episode of National Geographic Explorer in June 2017.
If you recognize the person in the pictures or know anything about Freeman's murder, call the Sheriff's hotline at (979)-361-4986. You can also leave an anonymous tip by calling Crime Stoppers at (979)-775-TIPS (8477).
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