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DNA technology reopens cold case in Colorado Springs

Suspect image provided for 1988 murder

New DNA process prodices suspect image in Colorado Springs cold case

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - DNA from an unsolved murder investigation in Colorado Springs in 1988 has recently produced an image of the possible killer. 

Mary Lynn Vialpando, 24, was found dead by blunt force trauma in the 2600 block of West Colorado Avenue in Colorado Springs on Sunday, June 5, 1988. 

Vialpando was last seen by family arguing with her husband at their home in the 2200 block of West Kiowa Street at around 2 a.m. after attending a wedding in Pueblo. She left the home and did not say where she was going. 

Witnesses told Colorado Springs police that they may have seen Vialpando inside Roger's Bar off West Colorado Avenue between 2:30 a.m. and 3 a.m. and that she could have exited through the back door of the bar and into the alley. 

This year, her case was revisited, and detectives found usable DNA that they sent off to a DNA technology company that specializes in DNA phenotyping. The company was able to use the evidence to produce traits such as ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. Using these findings, a "Snapshot" photo was formed. 

Note: This photo only gives an idea of what the suspect may have looked like at age 25. It does not take into consideration certain aging factors such as smoking, drinking, and diet. 

The new image is a hopeful development for Jennifer Romero, a Colorado Springs woman whose son, Gino, 13, was killed in a drive-by shooting in 1997.

"They caught two of the people but the shooters have not been caught," she said.

Romero created the local support group MOMY, Mothers of Murdered Youth, after her son's death and has closely followed the Vialpando case.

"I can't explain why, but I had a strong connection to her," she said.  "Maybe it's because she was so young, so beautiful and was the mother of a 4-year-old daughter.  Technology like this can give families peace and a better chance of justice."

Anyone with information or is a witness to the Vialpando investigation is asked to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-7000; or if you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (719) 634-STOP (7867) or 1-800-222-8477.

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