More than 18 years after a body was found under a bed in a south Edmonton home, police have charged a man with second-degree murder in the killing.
A 66-year-old man has been charged in the death of Michael Thomas Longmore, the Edmonton Police Service's historical crimes section said in a statement on Monday.
The accused was arrested on Oct. 15 after the re-examination of decades-old evidence uncovered a previously undetected DNA profile, police said.
Longmore, 59, was found dead on May 9, 2002. His body was recovered from a home near 99th Street and 86th Avenue.
An autopsy confirmed Longmore was the victim of a homicide but investigators at the time lacked evidence to lay charges.
The EPS historical crimes section opened a review of the file in January 2019 and re-submitted exhibits to the RCMP laboratory for forensic testing.
The test results identified a DNA profile that led police to a suspect, police said.
While DNA testing at the time wasn't sophisticated enough to identify a suspect, current technology has made that possible, said Staff Sgt. Ryan Tebb, who oversees the historical crimes section.
Tebb said the standard DNA profile generated from the crime scene evidence was cross-referenced with the national database, which is populated with three different sets of DNA data — an offender's database, a crime scene database and a missing person's database.
The case, he said, proves the value of re-examining cold cases.
"It's exciting for us because we don't have these types of wins in each and every one of our files," Tebb said in an interview.
"There is some luck involved to even have the opportunity to collect a DNA profile. I guess that's what keeps our members driving forward on some of our files."
'Few and far between'
Charging offenders who have evaded arrest for decades is becoming increasingly common but, even so, cold case investigators are rarely rewarded with a match.
"Some of the successes are few and far between in the historical world," Tebb said.
"Just because, at the onset, these investigations are well investigated. And we're always looking for the new avenue or the new opportunities. And obviously, with forensics, as it improves, that's one of the primary ways that we're finding that we get those types of wins."
Tebb said Longmore and the accused were known to one another. The accused was the last to see Longmore alive in the apartment where his body was found, he said.
Longmore's relatives, who reside in his native Wales, have been notified of the arrest.
The news was bittersweet for the family, Tebb said.
"I think they are happy to hear there was some closure, but there is a degree of disappointment. I think they were hoping to get a better appreciation for what happened and why it happened.
"During our dealings with [the accused] we didn't get a lot of clarity on exactly what transpired that day."
Established in 2018, the historical crimes section has about 10 officers who investigate historical homicides, missing persons and cold case sexual assaults.
The four homicide detectives in the section currently have a caseload of 202 unsolved homicides dating from 1938 to 2017.
Police said a full review of all historical files was initiated when the section was formed to identify files where modern technology or investigative approaches might shed new light on a previously unsolved case.