DNA leads Colorado police to arrest of murder suspect in 32-year-old cold case

Authorities who used a DNA sample to create an image of the possible suspect in a 32-year-old murder case have arrested a suburban Denver man in the strangulation of a young soldier at Fort Carson.

Civilian and Army investigators arrested Michael Whyte, 58, of Thornton, Colorado, on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Darlene Krashoc, whose body was found behind a Colorado Springs restaurant in March 1987, police said Friday.

Investigators said the 20-year-old victim had gone to a nightclub the previous evening with other soldiers from her maintenance unit.

After identifying Whyte as a possible suspect earlier this year, police began tracking his movements, eventually recovering his DNA from a fast food cup he used at a restaurant, KKTV reports, citing an arrest report.

Authorities had reopened the investigation twice before, in 2004 and 2011, and found male DNA on several pieces of evidence.

In 2016, the Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory re-analyzed the DNA and sent it to a private company that specializes in using DNA to create images of what someone might look like.

The process, called phenotyping, uses DNA to predict traits such as ancestry, hair and eye color, and face shape.The company made two composites: one showing the person at about age 25 and another at about 50 to 55.

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Two years ago, police and Army investigators released at least one of the images to the public and asked for tips. Early this year, investigators identified Whyte as a suspect through genetic genealogy DNA analysis.

“Words cannot convey the satisfaction we are feeling from this arrest,” said Maj. Gen. David Glaser, commanding general of the CID, the Denver Post reported. “We sincerely hope that today’s announcement in some small way brings comfort to the family and friends of Spc. Darlene Krashoc.”.

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