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

Top Stories


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 2...
Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

Dow plunges and is back in a bear market

The third quarter is about to end and investors are wishing the past nine months good riddance. Stocks fell Thursday, giving up Wednesday's big gains. The Dow was down almost 650 points, or 2.1%, in midday trading.
15 hours ago
A wife and husband from Maryland have been charged with conspiring to provide the Russian governmen...
Holmes Lybrand

US Army doctor, anesthesiologist charged with conspiracy to provide medical records to Russia

A wife and husband from Maryland have been charged with conspiring to provide the Russian government with personal medical records from the U.S. government and military, according to a newly unsealed federal indictment.
15 hours ago
CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 28: The Coolio set during Groovin The Moo 2019 on April 28, 2019 in Can...
Sandra Gonzalez, CNN

Coolio, ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’ rapper, dead at 59

Coolio, the '90s rapper who lit up the music charts with hits like "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Fantastic Voyage," has died.
2 days ago
Pictured here is Gulfshore Boulevard. (City of Naples via CNN)...
Caroll Alvarado and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Floating cars, submerged buildings, no power: Floridians describe Hurricane Ian

Hurricane Ian, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm a little after 3 p.m. Wednesday along Florida's southwestern coast, has been battering coastal communities for hours.
2 days ago
President Joe Biden on September 28 asked if a congresswoman who died last month was present at a W...
Maegan Vazquez

Biden asks if deceased congresswoman is present at White House media event

President Joe Biden on Wednesday asked if a congresswoman who died last month was present at a White House food insecurity conference.
2 days ago
Mount Everest is shown at approximately 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) in Nepal, 2003. (Paula Bronstein/...
John Sinnott and Alex Stambaugh, CNN

Hilaree Nelson’s body found after US ski mountaineer dies during Nepal expedition

The body of Hilaree Nelson was found Wednesday and taken to a forensic laboratory in Kathmandu for an autopsy after the renowned US ski mountaineer died during an expedition in Nepal, according to Sachindra Kumar Yadav, an official with the tourism department.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
DNA Helped Authorities Identify Accused Killer in 1984 Homicides