DNA Helped Authorities Identify Accused Killer in 1984 Homicides

Aug 10, 2018, 10:29 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 4:01 pm

Alexander Christopher Ewing (Source: CNN)...

Alexander Christopher Ewing (Source: CNN)

(Source: CNN)

(CNN) — Closure may come to two families in Colorado as authorities announced they had charged a man with killing four people more than 30 years ago.

At a joint news conference Friday in Aurora, law enforcement officials said they issued arrest warrants for Alexander Christopher Ewing, 57, whose DNA linked him to the cold cases, authorities said. Ewing is in the custody of the Nevada Department of Corrections on separate charges.

The gruesome killings began on Jan. 10, 1984, when Patricia Smith was found dead in her home in Lakewood, about a 7-mile drive from Denver, authorities said. Six days later, on Jan. 16, Bruce Bennett was found dead with his wife, Debra, and their 7-year-old daughter. The couple’s 3-year-old daughter was severely injured, but survived. Both children, police said, had been sexually assaulted.

While investigators saw similarities between the killings from the start, the release said technology was limited. The investigations remained open, authorities said, but they were considered cold cases for over 30 years.

“This case haunted our detectives that responded that night,” Aurora Police Chief Nicholas Metz said Friday. “It was a case that haunted the families and the victims to the core.”

Then in 2010, thanks to the use of DNA, an official link was established between the two cases, the release said. The genetic profile of the DNA matched that of Ewing, according to CNN affiliate KMGH. The charges against Ewing include three counts of first-degree murder, felony murder, attempted first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree sexual assault.

Randy McCoy, a friend of the Bennett family, told CNN affiliate KCNC he wanted to be present during Friday’s press conference.

“I just wanted to hear it,” he said between tears. “Hear that they had found the guy. Not just on the news or something, I wanted to be here to hear it.”

The extradition process to return Ewing to Colorado from Nevada has begun, authorities said Friday. Colorado authorities said they’d ask the governors of both Colorado and Nevada to have Ewing extradited, KMGH reports.

According to the Nevada Department of Corrections, Ewing has been in prison in Nevada on charges ranging from aggravated escape to burglary to attempted murder. The charges span from the mid-1980s to 2013. He had been serving time since the summer of 1984 when he escaped the custody of two Arizona sheriff’s deputies while being transported from Utah for a court appearance on attempted murder and burglary charges, according to KCNC.

During his escape, KCNC reported that Ewing entered an unlocked home and beat a woman and her husband with an ax handle.

™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


Claudine Gay, President, Harvard University, speaking at a House Committee on Education and the Wor...

Eva Rothenberg, CNN

Pressure grows on Harvard President Claudine Gay after Penn’s Liz Magill resignation

Now that Liz Magill has stepped down as president of the University of Pennsylvania, the spotlight has turned to her counterpart from Harvard University, Claudine Gay.

1 hour ago

The US Air Force has disciplined 15 people connected to the intelligence leaks from Air National Gu...

Haley Britzky, CNN

US Air Force disciplines 15 people following investigation into accused National Guard leaker Jack Teixeira

The US Air Force has disciplined 15 people connected to the intelligence leaks from Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira.

2 hours ago

Dramatic footage shows a deputy making a brave save on some thin ice. (Anoka County Sheriff's Offic...

Ubah Ali

2 men, dog rescued after falling through ice while fishing in Minnesota

The dramatic body camera footage shows a Minnesota deputy making a brave save on some thin ice.

5 hours ago

President Joe Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House on December...

Kevin Liptak, CNN

Biden to host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at White House Tuesday

President Joe Biden will host Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the White House Tuesday as discussions on a Ukraine aid deal remain stalled in Congress.

18 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump attends his civil fraud trial on Dec. 7, in New York City.
(David Dee...

Jeremy Herb and Kara Scannell, CNN

Trump says he’s not testifying in his civil fraud trial Monday

Former President Donald Trump wrote on his social media platform Sunday that he is no longer planning to testify in his civil fraud trial in New York on Monday.

21 hours ago


Chandler Watkins, CNN

Over 50 pounds of fentanyl seized in largest fentanyl bust by Oregon sheriff’s office

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said a months-long investigation ended in several arrests and resulted in one of the largest fentanyl seizures in state history and the largest in agency history.

22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

DNA Helped Authorities Identify Accused Killer in 1984 Homicides