On 6th November 1973 a young couple, Linda and Clifford Bernhardt, were murdered in their home. This was in Billings, Montana, USA. It took 45 years before their killer was identified. Success came from a mix of cold case detective work and DNA triumph. the case was featured as solved on the rather excellent Yellowstone Cold Case website.
The 24 year olds were found when Mrs Bernhardt did not turn up for work. Her mother, poor woman, called and found the crime scene. Mr Bernhardt had been beaten about the head and strangled. His young wife had been sexually assaulted and then strangled. DNA from the scene later proved that a co worker of Mrs Bernhardt was responsible for the crime.
In the People.com article it said that the victims appeared to have been expecting a third person to dinner that night as the table was set for such a gathering. However, that person was not identified at the time. When they were found their ranch style house had all the windows open and the heating turned down. The thinking was the killer was trying to confuse later estimates about time of death.
On the day he killed the couple, Cecil Stan Caldwell, would have been about 29 years old. He died in 2003. If he had lived the DNA evidence, along with other information turned up by the team, would have seen him dragged out of his old age and placed in a cell. Initially the back tracked family tree indicated Caldwell or his brother. A further test pinned it down to Cecil in 2019.
We are told by a few good sources that suspected killers do read our words from time to time. I hope they read this. However comfortable you low life are, however much you might be worrying about affording future care etc. Your old age may well be spent inside a prison. DNA is out there and is coming for you.
In addition to this encouraging story I want to point a congratulatory finger at the Yellowstone Cold Case Unit website. It is excellent. It is colourful and engaging and just the sort of place that could attract those with information to part with it.
Good one you folks