Paul David Crowder Jr. has been identified as the lead suspect in the December 24, 1977 rape and murder of 77-year-old Alma Jones in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her body was found in the hallway of her home by her daughter and grandson when they came to visit her on Christmas Day. Her family suspected the assailant was someone Alma knew, as she was very careful about letting people into her home.
The case was reopened by Raleigh police in 2011. A DNA profile of the suspect was developed from a cigarette butt found at the scene, as well as a semen stain on a blanket. No hits were produced through CODIS. The FGG investigation was performed by Othram Inc. Funding for the FGG investigation was provided by the SAKI. The final confirmation was made through kinship testing with a close living relative of Crowder.
Crowder is reported to have died in 2015 at the age of 73. He lived in the area at the time of Jones’ murder and was the grandson of one of Jones’ neighbours.
The Raleigh PD states that this is one of about 75 unsolved homicides dating back to the 1960s.
Even though the suspect would not face trial, Lamb reports that: “‘It feels really good to know and to understand our history,’ said Teia Petrus, Jones’ great-great-granddaughter.”
Lamb, Amanda, and Matthew Burns. “Even Though Suspect is Dead, Family Glad Police Solved Raleigh Woman’s 1977 Rape, Murder.” WRAL, September 22, 2021. Last Modified September 23, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://www.wral.com/even-though-suspect-is-dead-family-glad-police-solved-raleigh-woman-s-1977-rape-murder/19889176/.
Othram Inc. “Raleigh Police Department Uses Othram’s Genetic Testing Platform to Solve the Assault and Murder of Alma Jones.” DNASolves.com, September 22, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://dnasolves.com/articles/Alma_Jones/.
Shen-Berro, Julian. “‘She Can Rest in Peace Now’: Family Relieved After Police Solve Murder 44 Years Later.” Herald Sun, September 23, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://www.heraldsun.com/news/local/crime/article254462293.html.
Tauss, Leigh. “DNA Cracks Four Decade Old Raleigh Murder.” Indy Week, September 22, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://indyweek.com/news/wake/dna-cracks-four-decade-old-raleigh-murder/.