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DNA testing leads to arrest in brutal 1993 murder case

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 01:34s - Published < > Embed
DNA testing leads to arrest in brutal 1993 murder case

DNA testing leads to arrest in brutal 1993 murder case

On Friday, police arrested 44-year-old Steven Downs in Portland, Maine for allegedly killing 20-year-old Sophie Sergie at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks back in 1993.

DNA testing helped authorities track down the suspect by first linking to his aunt's DNA profile.

Colette Luke has more.

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DNA testing leads to arrest in brutal 1993 murder case

Police tracked a suspect nearly 4,500 miles and may have cracked a case going back a quarter century.

On Friday, 44-year-old Steven Downs was arrested in Portland, Maine for allegedly killing 20-year-old Sophie Sergie at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks back in 1993.

Sergie's body was found in a dormitory bathtub.

She had been sexually assaulted, stabbed in the face and shot in the back of the head.

The case lay dormant for years.

But according to court documents, detectives in 2018 tried using the same DNA technology that helped police track down the suspected Golden State killer last year … They submitted a DNA profile from the Sergie crime scene to a company that uses DNA to help people build out their family tree… … and they landed on Steven Downs' aunt.

That clue helped authorities discover her nephew, who was a student at the same university as Sergie and lived in the same dormitory... Neighbors who live in Auburn where Downs grew up were shocked: (SOUNDBITE) DOUG HENRY, AUBURN RESIDENT, SAYING: "Auburn is a pretty quiet town usually so it's surprising." (SOUNDBITE) TIM CASSIDY, RESIDENT, SAYING: "It's notoriety for the town and not necessarily in a good way." On Friday, Alaska State Troopers - working with Maine State Police - arrested Downs near the Fireside Inn… (SOUNDBITE) TIM CASSIDY, RESIDENT, SAYING: "In this day in age, nothing surprises me.

Anybody can be from anywhere and you never know what their past is." Downs was charged with sexual assault and murder.

As for Sergie's family, they are hoping to finally to get justice after years of not knowing who took the life of their beloved Sophie...




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