The cold case murder of a mother in 1988 has been finally solved thanks to DNA evidence found on a chilling letter sent to a local newspaper decades ago with intimate details of the crime.
Anna Kane was 26 when she was strangled to death and her body found on 23 October 1988 along a trail in Perry Township in the state of Pennsylvania.
Nearly 35 years after her death, her killer has been identified using breakthrough DNA genealogy technology, a local official said.
He was named as Scott Grim during a news conference on Thursday.
After the 1988 murder, DNA evidence was collected from Kane’s clothes. An undetermined male DNA profile showed up, but no match was found.
In 1990, the Reading Eagle newspaper ran a front-page story about Kane’s murder, asking for help with information in the case.
In February 1990 the paper received an anonymous letter signed by a “concerned citizen” that had “numerous intimate details” about the killing, State Police Trooper Daniel Womer said.
“This led investigators to believe that whoever wrote the letter had committed the homicide,” he said.
The saliva-sealed envelope the letter had been sent in was tested for DNA, and it matched the DNA profile found on Kane’s clothing.
This year, genetic genealogy testing from that DNA profile was completed by Parabon NanoLabs in Virginia, a lab that has helped to solve a slew of cold cases.
The results determined a possible suspect was Scott Grim. He died in 2018 of natural causes, at the age of 58. He would have been 26 at the time of Kane’s murder.
Police then obtained a direct sample of Grim’s DNA for their own testing and it matched the DNA profile on the letter envelope and the profile found on Kane’s clothes. Officials did not elaborate on how they got that sample.
“We were able to take the direct sample from Scott Grim. We had our Pennsylvania State Police Lab do a direct comparison to the DNA from the letter in 1990 as well as the original evidence from the victim’s clothing, all of which showed the same contributor, being Scott Grim – his DNA profile was on all of those items,” Mr Womer said.
Police praised the work of the original investigators in the case, saying their collection of evidence was key to solving the case now that DNA technology has evolved.
Police said Grim did not appear in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, which was launched in 1998. They found that Grim, who was from the Hamburg area, had been arrested in 2002 in Berks County in a harassment case in which he allegedly mailed intimidating letters to his former business partner.
Officials said an investigation continues into Grim’s history and background, including his exact relationship with Kane. Police said so far in interviews with people who knew Grim they did not reveal any relationship between the two.
“That doesn’t mean there wasn’t some connection we haven’t found yet,” Mr Womer said.
He acknowledged it has been previously reported that Kane worked as a prostitute and it is possible Grim could have been a customer.
The Reading Eagle described Kane as a mother of three. She had lived in Reading but had moved to the Birdsboro area shortly before she was murdered, officials said.
Pennsylvania State Police and Berks County District Attorney John Adams praised the authorities for their diligent work in the case.
“I know in some respects the fact that he is deceased, he will never face justice as we all would have hoped for this homicide,” he said. “But we solved it. We gave some closure to the family.”
The original story can be found here.