Jason Tibbs, 38, is accused of strangling Rayna Rison, who vanished after working at the Pine Lake Animal Hospital two decades ago, WNDU-TV, South Bend, reported. Tibbs allegedly was obsessed with Rison, who he had once dated.
Tibbs had been a suspect in the case at the time of Rison's death because his class ring was found in her car the day she disappeared. Her body wasn't found until months later in a LaPorte County pond.
Police said their big break in the cold case came when a prison inmate who admitted being in the car when Rayna Rison was killed ratted on Tibbs in return for immunity.
Ben Rison, the victim's father, said police had called to inform the family of the news that an arrest had been made.
"They made an arrest and thank God cause it's been twenty years," he said. "That's what we've wondered and now hopefully we can get some kind of answers."
A family member, Ray McCarty, was once charged in the slaying but was not convicted.
"We want to see this through, in our hearts we knew it wasn't our son-in-law anyhow," Karen Rison, the victim's mother, said.