A waitress was murdered in California. Decades later, police say DNA helped solve her killing.

Source: Contra Costa Sheriff's Office, MEGA

Dec. 10 2021, Published 7:36 p.m. ET

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A waitress was murdered in California in 1996, and now, decades later, police say DNA helped make them an arrest in the case.

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On Sept. 24, 1996, Priscilla Lewis, 21, was a student working as a waitress at the Four Corners restaurant in Crockett, California, according to the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office.

The cook at the restaurant called 911 shortly before 10:30 p.m. after finding her body in the basement bathroom.

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The cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning, according to the sheriff's office.

Since then, detectives have continued to investigate, interviewing dozens of people, testing numerous pieces of evidence and executing several search warrants, according to the sheriff's office.

Despite persistent investigation, the case remained unsolved.

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In 2020, detectives submitted additional evidence to the sheriff’s office crime lab to be tested using current technology.

A DNA match came back identifying Danny Lamont Hamilton as Lewis' killer, according to the sheriff's office.

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Hamilton was incarcerated at the Martinez Detention Facility from 1999 to 2002 for unrelated sexual assault charges. He was later convicted of those charged and sentenced to prison for 295 years.

Hamilton, who is 51-years-old, is currently serving his term at a state prison near San Diego, according to the sheriff's office.

Hamilton has been charged with one count of murder, including enhancements for kidnapping, burglary, lying in wait and enumerated sex offense.


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