At the time they suspected David Grimes, now 64, in the death of 75-year-old Ruth VanHouten, because he'd been arrested several times near her Ithaca, NY home for residential burglaries.
Many of the cases involved residential burglaries and the assault of elderly women who lived alone. But thanks to their excellent and painstaking evidence collection at the time, in January 2010, when Lieutenant Christopher Townsend reviewed the case he got a break.
When he sent it the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center in Albany, using current technology, DNA was gathered from the evidence and entered into a DNA database.
It came back with a match - the man they'd suspected all along.
Grimes is currently an inmate at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York and when investigators gathered a DNA sample from Grimes in prison, which came back positive for a match.
As he is currently serving a 50 years to life sentence for burglary, robbery and assault convictions from crimes he committed in Ithaca VanHouten's family made the decision not to hold a criminal trial.
His first scheduled parole hearing in 2040, when he will be 93 years old, so they took that into account that Grimes is serving a life sentence, and did not want to relive the events of the crime.