DNA evidence leads to possible break in Washington State cold case

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. (KING) – Law enforcement officers in Snohomish County, Washington say their oldest cold case is cracked wide open thanks to detective work and DNA technology.

Nearly a half-century after the crime, there’s a major development in the Jody Loomis investigation.

The man suspected of raping and murdering her now sits in maximum security at the Snohomish County Jail.

It’s a case Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office cold case volunteer Chuck Wright has followed closely. He said, “She was 20 years old and I still get emotional.” Emotional when he thinks about Jody Loomis.

He said for the last ten years, he’s kept a special missing person card in his wallet. “We passed them out in the prison hoping we would get some response.”

It’s a homicide he wanted to help solve. Chuck also writes for The Mill Creek Beacon where he kept the victim’s name in the headlines. “I wanted people to hang on and maybe somebody had some information,” he explained.

On August 23, 1972, Jody Loomis planned to ride her bike to a horse stable in Mill Creek but was found down a dirt road. She had been raped and shot in the head.

Now nearly 47 years later, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is announcing an arrest.

Captain Rob Palmer said, “His name is Terrence Miller. He was charged with murder in the first degree yesterday afternoon.”

In 1972, Terrence Miller lived five miles away from the crime scene. Back then he would have been 30 years old.

According to investigators, a series of significant events led law enforcement to him.

On August 14, 2018, investigators say DNA left on Jody Loomis’ boot during the attack was compared to genetic databases and it’s believed to belong to one of the six Miller brothers of Edmonds.

Detectives decided to put one brother, Terrence Miller, under surveillance because he had a prior sex offense history.

On August 29, 2018, law enforcement officers followed him into the Tulalip Casino. Palmer said, “He discarded a coffee cup at a casino and we collected that had it sent to the lab for testing.”

On September 6, 2018, the crime lab found that the DNA profile from the coffee cup and the DNA left on the boot matched.

More investigation followed. Then, this week, the sheriff’s office moved in to make the arrest at Miller’s home.

And now, for Chuck Wright, there’s relief because he said questions are finally being answered in a case he’s carried with him for so many years. “Loved ones care but strangers care too,” he said.

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