DNA Evidence Leads Investigators to 2 Suspects in 43 Year-Old Murder Case

a second Michigan man has been charged with murder of a 21-year-old woman found shot to death in a state game area more than 40 years ago.

DNA tied both  Anthony Harris, 63, and Douglas Laming, 70, to the death of Karen Umphrey, whose body was found in the State Game Area in Beards Hills on November 2, 1980, The Port Huron Times Herald said.

Harris was charged Wednesday with open murder  in Umphrey’s death. Laming was charged on December 17, 2023, when the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office said that “advancements in DNA testing and availability” linked him to the murder.

According to the Times Herald, Umphrey was shot twice in the head.

According to the website DNASolves.com, which helps fund and coordinate DNA testing, Michigan State Police in 2022 submitted DNA found at the crime scene to Othram, a company that developed a profile from the sample and then used forensic genetic genealogy to develop leads. Those leads led to Laming’s arrest.

The following year, state police submitted additional DNA evidence to Otham, which included a sample from a second unknown person. Otham produced new leads based on that sample, leading to the arrest of Harris.

The Times Herald said that Umphrey was driving home from a party in Port Huron with her boyfriend on the night she was killed. The two had an argument, and the boyfriend got out of the car and began walking home. Umphrey parked the car and followed him on foot. Sometime later, a motorist reported seeing a woman being forced into a pickup truck near where the car was parked.

Hunters found her body some 600 feet off the road in Beards Hills. Neither Laming nor Harris were Umphrey’s boyfriend, and it’s not clear if she had any connection with them.

Laming and Harris are both due in court on February 20, Laming for a pretrial conference and Harris for a probable cause conference.

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[Featured image: Anthony Harris, Karen Umphrey, and Douglas Laming/St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office]