Novelist Patricia Cornwell helps police

June 27, 2005 at 9:02 PM
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HOLLYWOOD, Fla., June 27 (UPI) -- Murder mystery writer Patricia Cornwell has helped a Florida police department revive the investigation of a brutal 1994 killing.

Cornwell adopted the Hollywood department after meeting police detective Sue Courtney at the National Forensic Academy in Tennessee. Courtney eventually told her about the death of Mildred Weiss, a small frail 86-year-old woman who was fatally beaten in the laundry room of her apartment building.

Cornwell paid for a DNA test that provided a rough guide to the features of the suspect, the Miami Herald reports. The test, while it has not led to an arrest so far, confirmed police suspicions of a young homeless man who had been hanging around the building.

The killer sliced off the tip of his finger while opening a package Weiss was carrying. Courtney believes that the combination of a composite picture and the missing fingerprint will eventually jog some police officer's memory and the suspect will be arrested.

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