Florida College Student's Cold Case Murder Cracked Almost 20 Years Later Using DNA

Police have arrested a man in connection with the 2001 murder of 25-year-old Florida college student Christine Franke.

November 13, 2018

Christine Franke [Orlando Police Department]

Christine Franke [Orlando Police Department]

By: Catherine Townsend

ORLANDO, FL — In 2001, a 25-year-old Florida student was murdered.

Almost 20 years later, investigators have announced that they were able to crack the cold case by using DNA technology.

The Orlando Police Department said on Monday that 38-year-old Benjamin L. Holmes has been arrested in connection with the murder of Christine Franke.

Franke was an education major at the University of Central Florida when she was found dead in her Audubon Park apartment in October 2001, according to FOX35.

The college student had been robbed and sexually assaulted, and the killer had reportedly left a large amount of DNA at the scene.

The Orlando Police Department worked with a company called Parabon Nanolabs to run a DNA sample. The company was able to create a computer-generated composite of what Christine's killer could look like.

Phenotype and mug shot of Benjamin Holmes [Orlando Police Department]

Phenotype and mug shot of Benjamin Holmes [Orlando Police Department]

"We knew everything about his genetic make-up, but we did not know his name," Detective Michael Fields said at a press conference.

But police then sent some DNA to Gedmatch, a public genealogy database – and got a match.

"We went out, we interviewed family members. We received DNA samples to compare against the killer's DNA through kinship testing," Fields said.

"Through this testing we were able to shop the kinship relationship between the killer and other family members. We eliminated most of the family using DNA genealogy and narrowed down to Holmes and his brother.”

Police then obtained a discarded Gatorade bottle from Holmes’ brother – and a cigar and beer can from Holmes, which they watched him throw away.

According to FOX35, the DNA on the beer can was an exact match to DNA found at the crime scene.

At a press conference, Franke’s mother Tina Franke called the arrest “a blessing for our family."

Holmes has denied any involvement in Franke’s murder and is being held without bond in the Orange County Jail.

Read more: Fox News

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