ATLANTA — Police are convinced that a murderer who eluded them for weeks died in the ValuJet crash that killed 110 people in the Florida Everglades in May, a newspaper reports.
Detectives in College Park, Ga., told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that 38-year-old DelMarie Walker stabbed and strangled her friend, Catherine Holmes, in an argument over money in March 1996.
Walker denied involvement in the crime and cooperated with the investigation by giving police fingerprints and hair samples. But she balked at giving blood that could be compared with bloodstains found at her friend's apartment.
"We didn't have enough probable cause to get a search warrant to draw her blood. We didn't have enough to charge her with murder," Police Lt. Richard Chromi told the newspaper.
But police say hairs found in the victim's hand, apparently from a struggle with her murderer, later matched those of Walker, as did fingerprints taken from the scene.
"We have our perpetrator," Chromi said.
Holmes, 48, was found hogtied with her own stockings and an electrical cord in her apartment. She had 20 stab wounds across her upper body, a sock stuffed in her mouth and a pillowcase over her head. There was no forced entry, and drinks and a full ashtray on a table in front of the television set indicated to police that she and her killer had been watching TV.
Walker died in the ValuJet crash weeks later. Police who stayed on the case said they felt confident enough to pronounce the case closed.