A suspect in the murder of a woman 36 years ago in a Sacramento hotel has been identified through recent DNA analysis, according to Sacramento police.
On Sept. 4, 1976, Sacramento police officers responded to investigate the murder of Mary H. Van Slavens, 60, who was found strangled in her hotel room in the 1100 block of Seventh Street. Homicide detectives processed the scene, interviewed witnesses, collected evidence and later exhausted all leads, according to a Police Department news release. Robbery appeared to have been the motive for the murder.
In March, 2011, Sacramento police cold case detectives submitted evidence from the victim's autopsy kit to the Sacramento County District Attorney's Crime Lab for DNA analysis.
Monday, detectives were notified of a DNA hit identifying Carl Eugene Blackwell. Detectives began looking into Blackwell's whereabouts and learned that he had died Oct. 10, 2004, in Sacramento. Police said Blackwell was 22 when the murder occurred, and research showed that he was a resident of the hotel during that time.
This is the fourth Sacramento Police Department cold case solved through DNA this year.