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DNA testing helps solve woman's cold case killing, nearly 4 decades later

Thirty-eight years ago Mary Jane Thompson was sexually assaulted and found killed on Irving Boulevard. Her killer had remained at-large ever since.
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Stock photo of jail bars

DALLAS — In 1984, the body of 21-year-old Mary Jane Thompson was found behind a Dallas warehouse. Now, her alleged killer has finally been caught and the cold case closed - nearly four decades to the day she was found. 

On Friday, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot announced that a joint investigation between the D.A.'s office, the Dallas Police Department and the FBI resulted in the arrest of Edward Morgan, now 60, for capital murder.

The D.A.'s office said it was thanks to DNA technology - the same that was used to catch the infamous Golden State Killer - that helped identify Morgan as the alleged killer. 

It was 38 years ago, on Feb. 13, when Thompson was sexually assaulted and killed on Irving Boulevard. But her killer had remained at-large ever since.

Officials reopened the case in 2009 and collected DNA samples during an autopsy. And while a DNA profile for an unknown man was identified, it was never matched to a specific suspect. 

The case went cold again. 

Then in 2018, Dallas police Detective Noe Camacho, with the department's Cold Case unit, reopened the case once more and worked with the Dallas County D.A. Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) team, which had access to new types of forensic testing techniques. 

In 2020 the FBI joined the investigation task force. 

The case was submitted for forensic genetic genealogy analysis, the same used in the Golden State Killer case. Through the analysis, investigators identified Morgan, of Dallas, as the suspect. 

This week, the D.A.'s office said DNA testing confirmed he matched the unidentified profile from the swab taken in the 1984 autopsy.

Dallas County Assistance D.A. and SAKI chief Leighton D’Antoni said the collaboration between the multiple agencies helped crack the case, and would continue to help solve "the most difficult cold cases that Dallas has ever seen."

“I look forward to working with all our local law enforcement agencies to utilize the advancements in forensic testing techniques to identify, arrest, and prosecute the most dangerous predators hiding among us," D’Antoni said. "We never, ever forget about these cases, our victims, and their families."

D’Antoni also thanked the persistence of Camacho and the FBI, who "spent countless hours over multiple years working diligently on what, at times, seemed like an impossible case to solve."

"It is not every day we are able to solve a 38-year-old cold case capital murder," D’Antoni said.

Morgan, the suspect, now faces one count of capital murder and is being held in the Dallas County Jail.

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