TERRE HAUTE, IN (WFIE) - Terre Haute Police announced a break in a cold case homicide.
Indiana State University student Pamela Milam was found murdered in September of 1972.
The case has been cold for about 47 years.
Police Chief Shawn Keen says detailed the case in a presentation Monday afternoon, identifying the person police believe is responsible for the murder.
(Note: The camera cuts to black during the presentation. Scroll through to hear from Milam’s family when the camera is back up.)
Authorities used breakthrough technology to identify the killer.
Police believe Jeffery Lynn Hand, of Princeton, is responsible.
Police described how they pulled DNA evidence from Pam’s shirt in 2001. It did not match the man originally believed to a suspect, nor did it match anyone in DNA databases.
In 2008, the ropes used to bound Pam were tested for touch DNA, which confirmed the suspect worked alone.
As the investigation continued, police learned about Parabon NanoLabs, a company that specializes in genetic genealogy. They were able to create a physical snapshot of what the suspect would look like based on DNA.
They were also able to find potential relatives, which led detectives to man in Washington, Indiana, and another man in Oden, Indiana. Both men explained their family tree and provided DNA samples.
Police say the “centimorgans” in the DNA more strongly matched the man from Oden.
While going through the family tree, detectives were able to determine the suspect is the son of the man’s cousin.
Hand was killed in a police shootout in the late 70′s. He was charged with kidnapping a couple, and killing the husband in 1973.
He was found not guilty by reason of insanity in that case.
Pam’s family also spoke. Her older sister Charlene Sanford said, “We were happy to know that he had not been out there living a great life for the last 47 years with people having no idea around him that he had killed Pam. We were also happy to learn that he wasn’t out there terrorizing other young women.”
Here all of the slides showed by police during the presentation.