Janie Landers’ case went cold in the early 1980s after multiple suspects had been identified and cleared. However, in 2015, Landers’ sister, Joyce Caldwell, began pressuring authorities to look at the case again (via A&E TV). Caldwell was convinced that DNA evidence, now a routine part of criminal investigations, could help solve her sister’s murder. However, police weren’t hopeful, as she hadn’t been sexually assaulted and, thus, no semen from her assailant to be entered into evidence.

Nevertheless, Oregon State Police Detective Steve Hinkle decided to take a look, and he noticed something that others had missed: Landers’ stab wounds suggested that she was stabbed with a knife without a hilt. Using such a weapon in a violent assault, particularly against a victim who is fighting back (Landers was known to be feisty and have surprising strength), could lead to the assailant getting cut as well. Sure enough, the assailant did leave some blood at the crime scene, including on Landers’ shirt. The garment was sent to a lab for testing, the DNA extracted being matched against a database, and just like that, authorities had their man.

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