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Monday, March 8, 2021

Sheriff: Texas man executed in 1999 now linked to 1981 death

BRYAN, Texas (AP) — A Texas sheriff says investigators used developments in DNA technology to identify a man executed in 1999 as the killer of a real estate agent whose death had gone unsolved for more than 35 years.

Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk said Monday that DNA collected from underneath the fingernails of Virginia Freeman in 1981 ultimately led investigators to James Otto Earhart.

Freeman’s body was found behind a College Station home where she had gone after a man called saying he was interested in buying it.

Investigators used public DNA databases to develop an ancestral analysis that led them to Earhart. They will request that Earhart’s body be exhumed to confirm the DNA connection.

Earhart was executed for the 1987 kidnapping and murder of a 9-year-old Bryan girl.

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