52-year-old cold case murder solved; social worker’s case dismissed in death of 8 years old

A 52-year-old murder case is now solved by the Seattle police. It sounds like a miracle but it happened with the help of DNA and family tree method. For those who are unaware of it, “it is a method that has revolutionized cold-case investigations across the U.S. in the past year.

It was a rape and murder case of a 20-year-old girl named Susan Galvin. She was a record clerk for the department in July 1967. She was found dead and strangled in a parking garage elevator at Seattle Centre. 

After her body was found dozens of people were questioned and one potential suspect who is a professional clown was seen with her a few days earlier, and he also left his job just a few days later, but he was never charged due to the lack of evidence.

But, now he is under arrest with the help of the DNA test and was located in Utah in 2016. Seattle police provided the killer’s DNA to Parabon NanoLabs in Reston, Virginia, last summer.

52-year-old cold case murder solved; social worker’s case dismissed in death of 8 years old
52-year-old cold case murder solved; social worker’s case dismissed in death of 8 years old

CeCe Moore, who is a Parabon genealogist used the public genealogy database GEDmatch to create a family tree for the killer and ultimately identified a potential suspect named Frank Wypych, who is a married Seattle man and also a former soldier who died of complications from diabetes in 1987.   

His remains were exhumed by the Seattle police from a cemetery earlier this year to collect DNA and confirmed it matched that extracted from Galvin’s clothing in 2002.  Moore said on Tuesday “It is the oldest case where genetic genealogy has helped to identify the suspect.

It’s amazing the DNA was still viable. The original investigators who collected the crime scene evidence did such a great job, long before they could even have imagined what could be done with DNA”

On the other side on Thursday, a Los Angeles County superior court judge dismissed a case against four social workers charged in the death of 8 years old named Gabriel Fernandez.

The four social welfare workers, named Stefanie Rodriguez, 35, Patricia Clement, 69, and their respective supervisors, Kevin Bom, 41, and Gregory Merritt, 64, were charged in 2016 with one felony count each of child abuse and falsifying public records in connection to the May 2013 death. 

“Over the years, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services has taken significant steps to mitigate risk and improve our capacity countywide in order to best serve vulnerable children and families and as a department, we remain committed to ensuring that reform continues,” the department said on Facebook respecting the court’s decision.

Gabriel died in May 2013 in Palmdale, north of Los Angeles, after he was brutally abused and tortured by his mother and her boyfriend. His skull was fractured and 12 of his ribs were broken, according to the prosecutors.

And, he was forced to eat cat feces and sleep bound and gagged in a cabinet at his home. His mother named Pearl Sinthia Fernandez pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced in June 2018 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Her boyfriend named Isauro Aguirre was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.

Priti Mann
An English honors student, aspiring blog and content developer. Her interest in writing got her the appointment of Head of Editing Society in her college.