DALLAS, April 8 (UPI) -- Dallas County authorities said Tuesday that DNA helped solve the 21-year-old slayings of a mother and her 5-year-old son.
Murder charges will be sought against George Washington Hicks II, who has been in prison since 1993 on an unrelated charge, Dallas County sheriff's investigators said at a news conference.
DNA tests of two hairs found on a hat recovered at the crime scene was enough to make Hicks a suspect. He is serving an 80-year sentence for aggravated sexual assault at a prison in Rosharon, Texas.
Sophisticated DNA testing was not available when 30-year-old Roxann Jeeves and her son, Kristopher Korper, were found shot to death in a car in December 1981. The lead detective, however, never gave up on the case.
Larry Forsyth kept the files in a cardboard box through a series of different jobs and promotions at the Dallas County sheriff's department. He is now the sheriff's chief executive deputy.
Forsyth said a team of investigators was responsible for breaking the case.
"We used 21st-century technology, years of investigative leads, and good old-fashioned police work to link the evidence found in the back seat of Jeeves' car to our suspect," he said.
The only lead at that time of the crime was a witness's report of seeing an unknown black male and an unknown Hispanic or American Indian female approach Roxann Jeeves and Kristopher outside their apartment. The victims were later found in the Jeeves car parked in a remote area. They had been shot.
Last year Forsyth asked the department's physical evidence division to take another look at the Jeeves case. The Texas Combined DNA Index System was used to link Hicks, a former sanitation worker, to the homicide.
Hicks, who has a long criminal record, has refused to talk to investigators about the Jeeves case but officers said interviews with his ex-wife have linked him to evidence recovered from the Jeeves car. Deputies said they have also discovered other evidence linking Hicks to the area of the crime.
A witness who saw a man running through a field on the day of the slayings has also been re-interviewed by deputies in light of the new evidence. This year that witness picked Hicks' picture out of a photo lineup.
Dallas County authorities are still looking for the Hispanic or American Indian woman who was reportedly seen with Hicks on the day of the crime. They said she is a potential witness, not a suspect, and her testimony could be critical to the case when it's taken to the grand jury soon.