BOISE -- Boise Police have reopened a decades-old investigation into the murder of a Boise woman, hoping a profile generated by the killer's DNA will help them finally crack the cold case.
Friday marks 30 years to the day since 65-year-old Joyce Casper was killed on Oct. 13, 1987.
Casper's body was found inside her car at Day Drive and Robert Street, just 800 feet from the business she owned, Casper's Vista Hallmark Shop in the Vista Village Shopping Center.
Investigators say they found evidence that Casper - who was known to work late - had been abducted from her shop in the early hours of the morning, sexually assaulted, and murdered.
The slaying remains unsolved.
"They're cold for a reason. Detectives at the time ran out of clues and leads," Sgt. Justin Kendall with the Boise Police Department said.
Casper's case was reactivated in 2005, and a Special Victims Unit detective and a Violent Crimes detective were assigned in August to work full-time on the case.
"Recent technology brought more evidence to light. So you go from a cold case with no leads to all of a sudden a lot of leads to where it gives you some hope to solve the case," Sgt. Kendall said.
Police combed through some of the same evidence that 30 years ago may not have been as useful.
"They didn't know what they were preserving back then and now, 30 years later, that evidence they preserved, technology has come to a point where that's valid evidence to us, which at the time was not really relative evidence to them," Sgt. Kendall said.
Sgt. Kendall says one of the key pieces of evidence in this case is DNA, but wouldn't elaborate on the type of DNA due to the ongoing investigation.
Police did run their sample through a national database comprised of the DNA of convicted felons, but unfortunately nothing matched.
"So either the subject has never been arrested, and his DNA is not in the system to provide a match, so our next step is we need to go find that subject," Sgt. Kendall said.
Boise Police turned to a DNA company, Parabon Nanolabs, to create a computer profile of the killer, based on the DNA evidence.
The DNA test revealed the suspect is a male Latino, possibly of Puerto Rican or Colombian descent. He has brown or hazel eyes, and brown or black hair. He did not have freckles, according to the profile.
Evidence indicates that the man had long, slicked-back back hair, although detectives say he may now have different hair, or no hair at all. The suspect may also be lighter or heavier than the profile depicts; researchers used a standard body mass index to generate the profile.
Police say that two or three weeks before she was killed, Casper told reported a man tried to assault her at her shop, but ran away, headed east, after a short altercation. She described the attacker as between 17 and 25, with slicked back black hair.
Investigators say the murderer likely lived in the area of Vista Avenue and Kootenai Street in 1987.
Using DNA to create a profile of a suspect is a fairly new capability that relies on recent advancements in DNA technology. Parabon Labs created a similar DNA profile earlier this year in an unsolved rape and murder in Idaho Falls.
"We're hoping with using the composite drawings, put those out to the public and people that remember back around the time when this happened in 1987 that maybe these images will look close enough to a subject that they can steer us towards somebody," Sgt. Kendall said.
Providing some hope to a 30-year-old unsolved murder case.
"I have some very good hopes that we're going to be able to solve this case," Sgt. Kendall said.
Anyone with information that could help police solve the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 208-343-COPS (2677) or submit a tip at www.343COPS.com.
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