Using the same genetic genealogy technique that was used last year to find the Golden State Killer suspect and a man accused of killing a Canadian couple near Seattle in 1987, investigators on Wednesday arrested an Edmonds man in the four-decades-old slaying of a Bothell woman.
Terrence Miller, 77, is being held in Snohomish County Jail on $1 million bail, charged with first-degree murder for the Aug. 23, 1972, rape and shooting of Jody Loomis.
His DNA, collected from a discarded coffee cup, matches that of semen collected from Loomis’ boots, according to Snohomish County investigations captain Rob Palmer.
“Today we are one step closer to finding justice for Jody Loomis and her family,” Palmer said at a Thursday news conference announcing the arrest.
Loomis, 20, had been riding a bike to see her horse when she crossed paths with her killer, according to investigators. When she was found less than an hour later in a wooded area off what is now Mill Creek Road, she was partially clothed and had been shot in the head.
DNA evidence taken from her body and clothing was preserved for decades and recently submitted for genetic genealogy identification.
Genetic genealogy is the use of DNA testing in combination with traditional genealogical methods to establish the relationship between an individual and their ancestors.
This is the second time the technique has led to an arrest in a Snohomish County cold homicide case.
Last year, Snohomish County investigators arrested William Earl Talbott II after using DNA technology to connect him with the November 1987 slayings of Canadians Tanya Van Cuylenborg, 18, and her boyfriend Jay Cook, 20.
Miller was identified in August as a possible suspect in Loomis’ death when DNA evidence was uploaded to a public genetic genealogy website and a connection was found to an Edmonds family with seven siblings, including Miller.
The Sheriff’s Office said Miller lived a few miles from the woods where Loomis’ body was found. Charging documents indicate he has been accused of sex crimes at least five times since the 1960s.
DNA taken from a cup discarded by the suspect at a casino confirmed the match, Palmer said.
“After more than 46 years of searching for her killer, we finally have some answers for Jody’s family,” Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said in a statement. “Thanks to the relentless persistence of our cold-case team and new DNA technology, we are one step closer to justice for Jody.”
Palmer said Miller refused to talk about the case. Detectives are hoping people who knew Miller at the time of the slaying will call the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 425-388-3845 if they have information, especially about firearms Miller owned then, where he worked, what vehicles he drove and whether he was in possession of a bridle for a horse.
The arrest is the latest in a string of high-profile cold cases cracked by comparing DNA evidence taken from sometimes decades-old crime scenes to information gathered by genetic genealogy companies.
Last year, a man suspected of being the so-called Golden State Killer — believed to be responsible for killing a dozen people and raping 45 in the 1970s and ’80s — was arrested at age 72 after investigators compared DNA evidence to information submitted to an online genealogical service.