ST PAUL, Minn. — An arrest has been made in the 1986 murder of Nancy Daugherty of Chisholm, according to officials.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and Chisholm police announced the suspect was taken into custody Wednesday booked into the St. Louis County Jail in Virginia, Minnesota on probable cause second-degree murder.
According to a press release, BCA agents and Chisolm police investigators made the arrest after confirmation that the suspects DNA matched DNA from the crime scene.
KARE 11 doesn't name suspects until they've formally been charged, which, according to the release, is expected to come in the days ahead by the St. Louis County Attorney's office.
“We are gratified to be able to provide some answers to this family and this community after all of these years,” Chisholm Police Chief Vern Manner said in the release. “We are grateful as well to the BCA and so many assisting law enforcement agencies that continued to work this case over more than three decades.”
On July 16, 1986, Daugherty was found dead inside her home by Chisholm police during a welfare check. According to the release, she had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled. Evidence indicated that there had been a struggle both inside and outside the home, and witnesses later reported hearing a woman scream in the early morning hours.
According to the release, investigators said the DNA gathered at the scene didn't match any persons in the criminal DNA database. Officials continued to investigate and in early 2020, the Chisholm Police Department approached the BCA wanting to provide a sample of DNA evidence to Parabon, a company that analyzes public genealogy databases that have law enforcement programs to generate leads in cases. In July, Parabon's analysis and research identified the suspect.
BCA agents and Chisholm investigators began surveillance of the suspect last week, and on Wednesday morning, the suspect agreed to provide a DNA sample to officials. By Wednesday afternoon, investigators had confirmation of a DNA match.
“This case illustrates why no case is ever cold for us,” BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said in the release. “Every time we hit a dead end, investigators and scientists go back to the drawing board. Solving this case is proof of the value of tenacious work – even when it’s over a span of decades.”