Carla Walker: DNA evidence helps nab suspected killer 46 years after Texas cheerleader's brutal murder

Carla Walker: DNA evidence helps nab suspected killer 46 years after Texas cheerleader's brutal murder
(Oxygen)

It has been nearly 50 years since the murder of 17-year-old Carla Jan Walker who was killed in 1974 after attending a Valentine's Day dance. Several decades later, investigators have arrested the man they believe is responsible for the killing of the Texas cheerleader. Glen Samuel McCurley, 77, was arrested on September 22 by authorities, NBC affiliate KXAS-TV reported. 

Walker and her boyfriend Western Hills High School football quarterback Rodney McCoy had attended a Valentine's Day dance on February 16, 1974. Post the dance, they had met some friends and then stopped by a Fort Worth bowling alley. 

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McCoy has always stood by his story that a man had approached the couple as they were sitting inside his car and had pointed a gun at him. He was then beaten unconscious and when he woke up, his girlfriend was nowhere to be found. According to investigators, McCurley was the one to approach the couple and had kidnapped Walker, holding her hostage for a few days. Three days after she was abducted, her body was located in a ditch and her clothes had been ripped off. 

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Authorities believed that Walker was sexually assaulted, strangled and beaten. They also believe that she was tortured and even injected with morphine before she died. They were able to obtain some DNA evidence from Walker's clothing, which were sent to a private lab leading to a full DNA profile of the suspect. This led the authorities to McCurley, a truck driver, who had already been named as a possible suspect in Walker's murder case.

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He had also been linked to the crime as he owned a gun that matched a magazine found at the crime scene. When he was interviewed in 1974, he claimed that his firearm had been stolen. Since there was no other evidence tying him to the killing, he was released. Fort Worth Detective Leah Wagner told CBS Dallas-Forth Worth: "There just wasn’t enough information at the time."

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Walker's murder was covered in Oxygen's documentary 'The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes' and it looks at Walker's case with the hope of finding some new leads. Holes, who is a renowned cold case investigator, spoke to Oxygen on September 23 and said that the identification of Walker's murderer "does not bring Carla back, but most certainly will help the family get justice for what was done for Carla".

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"It really underscores that no matter how old the case is, the family never forgets their loved one and needs to have an answer," Holes shared as he revealed he had spoken to Walker's brother Jim on September 22 morning. Jim shared that he was grateful for the news and update. He said, "The word that came across my brain was finally, finally. This is a resolution that’s been prayed for." 

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Holes also shared how the news would have brought some relief to McCoy. "He was under a cloud of suspicion for practically his entire adult life and now — at least as I understand the circumstances — is completely exonerated. The DNA and genealogy technology used works in both ways: catches the responsible and exonerates the innocent. It did both in this case."

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McCurley faces capital murder charges and remains behind bars on a $100,000 bond.

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