Police have identified the man they say killed an Iowa teen exactly 50 years to the day her body was found dumped in an abandoned junk car.
Cedar Rapids police revealed Tuesday that DNA testing confirmed George M. Smith was responsible for the 1971 slaying of 17-year-old Maureen Brubaker Farley.
Investigators were able to match his DNA to the suspect’s profile after tracking down one of his relatives earlier this year.
Smith, who was at one point considered a suspect in Farley’s murder, won’t be charged because he died in 2013 at age 94.
His DNA match came back on Sept. 24 — the 50th anniversary of when Farley’s partially clothed body was discovered in a wooded ravine in Cedar Rapids days after she failed to show for her shift at a local diner.
Farley’s autopsy revealed she had suffered a crushing blow to the head, and there was evidence she had been sexually assaulted, police said.
Smith, who was interviewed by officers in 1971, had been identified by multiple people as one of the victim’s acquaintances from the diner where she worked.
In the months after her killing, Smith went to the police department numerous times asking about the progress of the investigation.
He was one of several suspects interviewed at the time, but police never had enough evidence to charge anyone.
In 2017, cold case detectives started collecting DNA from the potential suspects listed in the case file and were able to eliminate more than 15 of them.
Smith died before detectives could get his DNA.
Detectives eventually managed to track down one of Smith’s relatives and obtained that person’s DNA via a search warrant earlier this year.
After his match came back, police notified Farley’s mother — who is now 86 — that her daughter’s killer had been identified.
“No matter how much time has passed, our officers are committed to seeking out justice for all victims of violent crime as well as their families,” Police Chief Wayne Jerman said in a statement.
“I am extremely proud of the generations of Cedar Rapids Officers that contributed to bringing this once cold case to a resolution.”