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DNA from fingernails helps remedy 1988 killing of California lady: “Needle in a haystack”


A suspect in a 1988 sexual assault and killing of a 79-year-old lady in a small northern California group has been recognized due to superior DNA testing achieved on scrapings from the sufferer’s fingernails, authorities mentioned Tuesday. The district legal professional mentioned discovering the proof was like discovering a “needle in a haystack.”

Terry Leroy Bramble was 32 when he sexually assaulted, stabbed and strangled Lucille Hultgren inside her dwelling, Galt Police Chief Brian Kalinowski mentioned.

Bramble was homeless and a registered intercourse offender when he died in 2011 of pure causes whereas residing beneath a bridge on Freeway 99 in Galt, Kalinowski mentioned.

Bramble’s DNA, collected throughout a 1992 sexual assault conviction in San Joaquin County, matched DNA present in fingernail scrapings collected from Hultgren’s physique, serving to detectives remedy the 34-year-old chilly case, mentioned Sacramento County District Legal professional Anne Marie Schubert.

“The fingernail scrapings turned the important thing to fixing this case,” she mentioned.

Schubert mentioned DNA testing has superior a lot {that a} very small quantity of genetic materials is required to get a DNA profile.

Prior to now, a DNA pattern needed to be the scale of 1 / 4 to have the ability to get a profile, however “now it is lower than a billionth of a measurement of a Candy’n Low bundle,” Schubert mentioned.

galt-cold-case-victim-suspect.jpg
Lucille Hultgren and Terry Leroy Bramble

Galt Police Division


She mentioned discovering the fingernail scrapings ⁠was like discovering a “needle in a haystack.”

On Might 23, 1988, two buddies who had gone to Hultgren’s dwelling to examine on her after she did not attend church the day earlier than discovered her useless in her bed room and referred to as police, Kalinowski mentioned.

A mom of two grownup kids, Hultgren lived alone after her husband’s loss of life the earlier yr, Kalinowski mentioned.

The coroner at the moment mentioned Hultgren had died two to 5 days earlier than her physique was found and that the reason for loss of life was stab wounds to the chest and strangulation, Kalinowski mentioned.

Hultgren’s killing was the one chilly case within the city of 25,000 folks 30 miles south of Sacramento, authorities mentioned.

Authorities mentioned the motive for Hultgren’s killing continues to be unknown.

Hultgren’s lone residing son gave a press release to authorities, thanking them for his or her work.

“I am glad to know the case was solved,” the assertion mentioned: “I want the person was nonetheless alive to face the implications. I want my older brother was nonetheless alive to listen to the information.”

In the meantime, the Galt Police Division despatched condolences to the household.

“Though we’re unable to carry Lucille again, we hope by figuring out the suspect liable for her loss of life it might probably present some closure for her household,” the Galt Police Division mentioned in a press release.



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