DNA Evidence Key To Solving Many Cold Cases
The grainy video is proof that the murder of 72-year old Wilhelmina Reid happened a long time ago.
In this case it was in August of 1982 when police found her body inside her Salt Lake City home.
However, Tuesday night, 37 years later, 55-year old Bryan Reed was arrested for her murder.
He is now in jail in South Sioux City, Nebraska.
“I actually let out a little whoop when I heard that Wilhelmina Reid’s murder had been solved,” said Karra Porter.
Porter is the co-founder of the Utah Cold Case Coalition.
She says any time an older case is solved, it can be a bit of a deterrence to those who might think about committing future violent crimes.
“If you know that you’re not going to get away with this even ten or fifteen years later, it actually helps prevent crime to solve one like this,” said Porter.
Especially as methods law enforcement agencies use in DNA forensics continue to get better.
“It just shows as technology advances, we have more hope in these cold cases,” said Porter.
For surviving family members in violent crimes, hope is everything.
“My mom was murdered nine years ago, and we still don’t have a solve,” said Heidi Miller, who lives in Salt Lake City.
Ever since that day, Heidi Miller has been raising awareness that her mother’s killer is still out there.
Sherry Black was killed in November of 2010 at the bookstore she owned in South Salt Lake.
“I have hope the case will be solved. I know it will be solved. It’s just a matter of time,” said Miller. “Justice will come. You just have to be patient.”
With time comes new DNA technology.
That’s also why Miller is on the Board of the Institute for DNA Justice.
It’s a group dedicated to promoting the awareness of Investigative Genetic Genealogy hoping people will share their genetic information to help police solve crimes.
“We have DNA on the person that murdered my mom and we will get a solve. I know we will get a solve.”
She has that hope every day.
Seeing cases solved like the murder of 72-year old Wilhelmina Reid continues to give her that hope.
“That is an absolute sense of relief for that family,” she said. “I feel so much joy for them that they can now put this behind them.”