Fort Worth Cold Case detectives solved the murder of 17-year old Carla Walker after it had gone cold for nearly five decades.
They analyzed old evidence using genetic genealogy and new DNA extraction technology pioneered by Othram, a forensic genealogy lab in the Woodlands a suburb of Houston.
Othram matched the DNA to a test submitted to a genealogy site by a member of the killer’s family tree. Othram did not disclose the relative’s name.
Cold case investigators Jeff Bennett and Leah Wagner identified 78-year old Glen McCurley who was among the original suspects. McCurley confessed to them when confronted with the DNA evidence.
Genetic genealogy was used in the Golden State Killer case, but this was the first time the technology make it to a courtroom.
McCurley pleaded guilty after two days of testimony in his capital murder trial in August of 2021.
More than 1,000 cases remain unsolved in Fort Worth alone. Paying for expensive DNA tests as well as travel expenses for investigators makes the task even more difficult.
In the wake of the Walker case, Detective Jeff Bennett created the FWPD Cold Case Support Group, a nonprofit foundation to accept tax-deductible donations to help solve Fort Worth’s unsolved murders.
In this episode of True Crime Reporter™ Confidential Investigative Reporter Robert Riggs takes listeners inside the crime scene tape with Detective Jeff Bennett who reopened the case in 2019.
Make An Online Donation with a note that you heard about this on True Crime Reporter™ Podcast or mail a check to:
FWPD Cold Case Support Group
PO Box 185052
Fort Worth, TX 76181-0052, US
The seven members of the FWPD Cold Case Support Group Board of Directors are: Detective Jeff Bennett, Detective Leah Wagner, Jim Walker (brother of Carla Walker), Emily Dixon (Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office), Detective John Galloway, former Sgt. David Thornton (who started the cold case unit in the 2000s), and Adam Palmer (founder of the oil and gas company Resource Sense LLC.)