Authorities in Georgia say genetic testing led to the identification of a suspect in the cold-case death of a 28-year-old woman found dead in her bedroom in 1997.
According to ABC News, Jerry Lee was arrested last week on suspicion of murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony in connection with Lorrie Ann Smith.
Investigators say the suspect lived less than a mile away from the victim on May 25, 1997, the day Smith’s parents found her dead in a pool of blood.
Due to Smith’s attempts to defend herself, police say “a significant amount of the suspect’s blood was found in the home.”
Fulton County Police Lt. Twanesa Howard explained that DNA testing earlier this year was able to establish a genetic link to the suspect and additional evidence led them to Lee.
The agency confirmed his DNA was not already in the state’s database since he has no felony criminal record.
Authorities apprehended Lee at an Alabama hotel before he was transported to Georgia and booked into Fulton County Jail on Thursday.
The victim’s family released a statement to WSB, describing the closure of one chapter in the long investigation, adding “there are new ones opening with trials, sentencing and all that we will be learning about the next phase of the process.”
“Despite a reward of more than $30,000 and DNA tests conducted on more than 100 individuals over the last 21 years, police had been unable to positively identify the suspect until this week,” a police statement concluded.
[Featured image: Jerry Lee, Fulton County Sheriff’s Office]