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New testing helps nab nurse, 44, in brutal Alaska killing from 25 years ago, authorities say

New testing helps nab nurse, 44, in brutal Alaska killing from 25 years ago, authorities say

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A comparatively new kind of genetic testing was credited Friday with serving to authorities in Alaska clear up a case wherein a 20-year-old girl was discovered brutally murdered within the toilet of a college dorm room greater than 25 years in the past.

On Friday, a 44-year-old man working as a nurse throughout the nation in Auburn, Maine, was arrested in reference to the 1993 chilly case killing of Sophie Sergie, who was discovered to have been sexually assaulted, stabbed a number of occasions and shot in her head, in line with Alaska State Troopers.

Steven Downs, 44, of Auburn, Maine has been charged in connection with the murder of woman 25 years ago in Alaska, authorities say. (Androscoggin County Jail)

Steven Downs, 44, of Auburn, Maine has been charged in reference to the homicide of girl 25 years in the past in Alaska, authorities say. (Androscoggin County Jail)

The suspect, recognized as Steven Downs, was 18 on the time of the slaying. He’s charged with sexual assault and homicide within the dying of Sergie and is predicted to be extradited to Alaska. No motive was given for the killing and it was unclear if Downs and Sergie knew one another previous to her dying.

“For greater than 20 years, AST continued to obtain information about Sophie’s homicide,” mentioned Col. Barry Wilson, director of the Alaska State Troopers. “Every tip generated a response by members of the chilly case unit hoping to interrupt the case.”


Sergie was discovered lifeless April 26, 1993, within the dorm room on the campus of the College of Alaska at Fairbanks. She had been visiting pals whereas on the town for an appointment, KTUU-TV of Anchorage reported.

Downs was a pupil who lived within the dorm, authorities mentioned. In 2018, investigators submitted DNA from the crime scene to a Virginia-based lab to develop a probable suspect utilizing genetic family tree.

The brand new method makes use of DNA to find out relationships between individuals. The strategy was used to seize California’s Golden State Killer, Joseph James DeAngelo, the Anchorage Each day Information reported.


The testing led police to Downs.

“Via their dogged persistence, advances in tech and spirit of cooperation exhibited by different companies that touched this case,” Wilson mentioned, “justice for Sophie is lastly inside attain.”

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