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Suspect arrested for 1972 murder of mom found dead next to shivering infant son: Officials

Authorities in North Carolina announced that a man was arrested in Florida for the kidnapping and slaying of a woman who was found dead next to her 4-month-old son in December 1972.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported that DNA evidence led to Monday’s arrest of Larry Joe Scott, 65, in Bradenton, Florida. The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office said Scott is the man who bound and fatally shot Bonnie Neighbors, 33, who was on her way to pick her 7-year-old son from school.

Neighbors and her infant son were the subjects of a lengthy search before they were reportedly discovered in a migrant worker house in Benson. Neighbors was found dead next to her baby, who Fox News reported was shivering as he bared the freezing temperatures.

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Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said they reopened their probe in 2007, calling it the county’s oldest cold case. The State Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab reportedly used cutting-edge technology to retest evidence and produce a DNA profile that led them to Scott.

Attorney General Josh Stein said initial DNA testing yielded inconclusive results. He went on to say that confirmatory testing is ongoing but said the emerging information has turned a cold case “very warm.”

“Today’s news serves as an important and encouraging reminder that DNA can breathe new life into [a] cold case,” Stein said, according to the News & Observer.

Bizzell noted that Scott lived in Benson at the time of the slaying. Citing police, WNCH reported that Scott was living on the street at the time of his arrest.

Authorities said they haven’t determined a motive or uncovered a connection between Scott and Neighbors. He remains jailed as he awaits extradition to North Carolina.

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[Featured image: Larry Joe Scott/Manatee County Sheriff’s Office]