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California police crack 34-year-old murder case with new DNA tests

By Ashley Williams
California police crack 34-year-old murder case with new DNA tests
Lucille Hultgren was assaulted and strangled inside of her Northern California home by an intruder in 1988. Police say they finally know who killed her. Photo courtesy Galt Police Department/Facebook

May 18 (UPI) -- Investigators in Northern California have used advanced forensic testing methods to crack a cold murder case involving an elderly woman who was beaten and strangled in her home 34 years ago, officials said.

Police in Galt announced the development on Tuesday in the case of 79-year-old Lucille Hultgren, who died during the 1988 attack. Galt is a small community located about 20 miles southeast of Sacramento.

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Two friends went to her home and discovered Hultgren's body after she hadn't been seen for a while, and crime scene technicians collected scrapings from beneath her fingernails as evidence. It would be years, however, before DNA technology advanced to the point that the trace evidence could be connected to the killer.

Authorities said that Terry Bramble was a transient and convicted sex offender who died in 2011. Photo courtesy Galt Police Department/Facebook

Authorities said Tuesday that the suspect is Terry Leroy Bramble, who was 32 at the time when police say he sexually assaulted, stabbed and strangled Hultgren -- who was last seen alive on her 79th birthday. Bramble is now dead.

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Officials said it took so long to identify Bramble because it was decades before the forensic technology was capable of decoding such a small amount of DNA. Previous efforts to match the DNA to the killer were not successful.

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Authorities said that Bramble was a transient and convicted sex offender who died in 2011.

"I'm glad the case was solved, but I wish the man was still alive," Henry Hultgren told reporters on Tuesday, according to the Sacramento Bee.

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