Las Vegas police say they have solved the cold case of a 16-year-old girl who was found dead 42 years ago.
Kim Bryant went missing in January of 1979 and her body was found almost a month later, according to Las Vegas Metro police.
Othram Inc., a Texas-based forensic sequencing laboratory, linked DNA evidence left on Bryant’s body to then-19-year-old Johnny Peterson, Homicide Lt. Raymond Spencer said during a press conference. Peterson died in Jan. 1993, police said.
On Jan. 26, 1979, Bryant was reported missing after she did not return home from school. She was last seen that day at a fast-food restaurant on North Decatur Boulevard in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On Feb. 20, 1979, Bryant’s body was found in a desert area near West Charleston Boulevard and South Buffalo Drive. She had been sexually assaulted.
Detectives now believe Peterson abducted Bryant the day she went missing, then sexually assaulted and killed her.
Police “investigated this case for years without being able to identify a suspect,” Spencer said, noting multiple detectives had worked to gather new leads.
The testing done by Othram Inc. was made possible thanks to a financial contribution from Las Vegas resident Justin Woo, who approached police to help further a cold case investigation using advanced DNA technology.
Bryant’s father, Edward Elliott, thanked investigators for their work in a statement read by Spencer during the news conference.
“Kim was a beautiful girl with a bright future, and it makes me happy that something is being done to help solve cases such as hers,” Elliott said in the statement.