In what is now becoming more commonplace in police agencies across the world, DNA evidence has resolved another decades-old cold case- this time bringing the total case closed count to 100 in the city of Denver alone.
The Denver Cold Case Project, and investigation unit amassed by the Denver District Attorney’s Office, has reviewed thousands of cold case investigations over the past several years identifying potential cases where new DNA technology may potentially be applied. The evidence, sometimes as old as three decades or more, contains biological evidence in some form which with today’s technology lies hope in case resolution.
Patricia Beard: Victim vindicated after 30 year wait
Patricia Beard was sexually assaulted and murdered in 1981 in Denver. Her assailant was never before identified and charged. Beard’s body was found after she was reported missing for several days by a family member in her East 11th Avenue apartment. No charges were filed and the case lay dormant for more than 30 years as cold case murder investigation.
Upon review by the Denver Cold Case Project this past year, the case was reexamined using DNA testing technology against biological samples left by the perpetrator at the crime scene. Once testing was conducted, a suspect named Hector Bencomo-Hinojos, age 53, was named. Hinojos has since been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Patricia Beard, then aged 32, and is awaiting extradition from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections where he is jailed for an unrelated crime.
100 cases resolved in Denver alone
The Denver Cold Case Project has announced the resolution of the Beard murder as a milestone in the goal to resolve as many cold case investigations in the Denver area as possible. In addition to the successful conclusion of this murder, the project has successfully closed the following outstanding cold case crimes since its inception: