COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs police have named a suspect in the 1976 death of Janet Conrad, 34.
On Dec. 3, 1976, Conrad's body was found in a tenth-floor laundry room of the then-Antlers Plaza Hotel downtown. She was a housekeeper there, police said, and was either strangled or suffocated.
Investigators collected numerous items of evidence during the investigation, but a suspect was never determined.
However, a federal grant allowed police to re-examine the case, and recent DNA testing of the evidence led to the arrest of Robert Baillie, 58.
Baillie is incarcerated in the Colorado Department of Corrections' Fremont Correctional Facility located in Cañon City. He is currently serving a sentence for sexual assault and was eligible for parole next January.
"It feels amazing," said police Lt. Adrian Vasquez of the Violent Crimes Unit. "The guys are very ecstatic about this, being able to call the family up. You don't really bring closure to a family in something like this. But just being able to give them that good news, and let them at least understand that somebody has been brought to justice."
Vasquez said police have notified Conrad's family. A woman from Oklahoma posted on Facebook that she's Conrad's niece and that the two never met, but that Conrad's family misses her.
The Colorado Springs Police Department applied for and received federal funding to re-examine unsolved "cold" sexual assault and homicide cases.
The $464,724 grant was awarded in 2009 from the National Institute of Justice under a program called "Solving Cold Cases with DNA". The focus of re-examining cases under this grant has been identifying any biological evidence that could have DNA testing done to find a possible match with known offender DNA in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database.
However, Vasquez said the grant expired last week, and police hope to apply for a new grant.
Both the Colorado Springs Police Department Laboratory and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation assisted in providing DNA analysis to solve the cold case homicide.