How a cup of coffee helped solve a 1975 murder

News

Authorities have arrested 68-year-old David Sinopoli for the death of Lindy Sue Biechler, which took place nearly 47 years ago.

A cold case nearly 47 years ago has finally been resolved. The man responsible for the murder of American Lindy Sue Biechler in 1975 was discovered after throwing a coffee cup away at an airport.

Authorities arrested 68-year-old David Sinopoli in the US state of Pennsylvania. The surprising resolution of the case came thanks to genealogist Cece Moore, who collected a DNA sample from the killer in 2022.

What was the crime?

In December 1975, 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler was stabbed to death in her apartment. She was found by her aunt and uncle a few hours after the murder.

According to the website Futurism, investigators created a task force and investigated about 300 people, but the case was eventually dropped.

However, in 1997, a semen sample recovered from Biechler’s underwear was sent to genealogist Cece Moore in hopes of a solution. Her company, Parabon NanoLabs, has already helped solve other cold cases.

How was the crime solved?

Moore not only analyzed the sample but also researched immigration patterns in the region where the crime took place. After DNA analysis, she determined that the culprit had ancestry in a specific city in Italy.

Moore traced 2,300 residents of Italian descent in the region where the crime took place through court records, newspaper archives, and other sources. She determined that Sinopoli was the most likely suspect, and the police followed the lead and eventually discovered that the man lived in the same building as Biechler.

Then, an employee follows the suspect and takes a cup of coffee that Sinopoli had thrown away in the airport trash. The DNA in the cup matched that at the crime scene, leading to Sinopoli’s arrest.

“This case was resolved using DNA and specifically DNA genealogy,” Heather Adams, Lancaster County District Attorney, told a news conference. “And honestly, without that, I don’t know if we would have worked it out.”