Rapid City Police solve a cold case after 51 years

RAPID CITY, S.D, (KEVN) - Rapid City Police say a cold case is finally solved after 51 years because of DNA genealogy.

60-year-old Gwen Miller was raped and strangled to death in 1968. (KEVN).

Detective Wayne Keefe identified Eugene Fields as the man who raped and strangled Gwen Miller to death in 1968.

After using the DNA profile created by the state forensic lab, Forensic Genealogist Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick eventually narrowed down the suspect's name to being Field or Fields.

Keefe eventually located Eugene Fields only brother who provided a DNA sample with a mouth swab to help compare the DNA in the semen collected on Miller's body.

Fitzpatrick determined the Y chromosome as a match showing it was Eugene Fields.

"I can't believe this is actually happening I did actually come up with a person because as I said on my slide there, I've worked on probably at least 25 other suspects and clearing them. Many of them I thought were very good suspects," Detective Wayne Keefe said.

Keefe said Miller loved to take trips and flew out of the Rapid City Regional Airport regularly. Keefe found out Eugene Fields was a ticket agent at the airport and at one point even rented a room in the house next door to Miller.

Fields cannot be charged since he died in 2009 from a cancerous tumor in his throat.

Kay Miller-Temple said though they will never know why he did it, it is reassuring to now know a who.

"That's the part that makes me cry because it changes everything. I don't think I can answer that. I mean it was a horrendous crime. I was in the fifth grade when she died. I was not told. I was not told," Miller-Temple said.

Kay Miller-Temple was just five years old when she lost Gwen Miller and didn't find out what really happened till she was 28.

But Miller-Temple having DNA genealogy in this day and age not only helps law enforcement help solve other cold cases but gives other families hope in gaining closure.