Police use DNA and genetic testing to make arrest in 34-year-old murder cold case

National News

Minnesota (NBC) (07/31/20)— The alleged killer of a Minnesota woman found beaten and strangled inside her home more than three decades ago has been arrested and charged in her death.

Michael Allan Carbo Jr., age 52, of Chisholm, was charged with second-degree murder for the 1986 killing of Nancy Daugherty, also of Chisholm. Bail was set Thursday at $1 million, The Associated Press reported.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Chisholm Police Department have made an arrest in the 1986 murder of Nancy Daugherty of Chishol, Minn.
Nancy Daugherty

“This is the day Nancy Daugherty’s family and all of Chisholm have waited for over 34 years,” Chisholm police chief Vern Manner said Wednesday during a press conference.

Daugherty was last seen alive just after midnight on July 16, 1986. She was 38 years old at the time, was the mother of two and worked at a nursing home.

The night before she died, Daugherty had been out with a friend and planned to move from Chisholm to the Twin Cities the next day, Manner said.

When her friend showed up to help her move furniture, Daugherty did not answer the door or phone. The friend and a concerned neighbor called police for a wellness check.

They found Daugherty beaten, sexually assaulted, and strangled. Evidence pointed to a physical struggle both inside and outside the home, and witnesses reported hearing a woman scream in the early morning hours, Manner said.

“My mom loved to help people,” her daughter Gina Haggard wrote in a statement read by Manner.

Haggard described a family trip to Alaska when she helped accident victims until they could be airlifted to a local hospital.

“She was happy, loved to take care of people and loved her family,” Haggard wrote in her statement. “So many tears and struggles. She has missed so much. I miss her love and guidance.”

Over the years, investigators collected DNA samples from more than 100 people but none matched the evidence collected at the scene.

“We pursued every tip and lead that came in but came up empty every time,” Manner said.

Earlier this year police turned to genetic genealogy, which combined DNA testing with genetic tracing, to find new leads. Carbo turned up as a possible match.

Agents from Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and Chisholm police arrested Carbo Wednesday after a state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension lab confirmed that his DNA matched DNA from the crime scene.

Carbo was 18 years old at the time of Daugherty’s death, lived less than a mile from the crime scene and attended school with her children, The Associated Press reported.

Carbo’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

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