Police have taken into custody a suspect in the nearly 50-year cold case murder of a teenager in Pennsylvania who was attacked after she returned home from a trip to the grocery store, authorities said.
Authorities said they were able to identify Sinopoli as a suspect in the case by matching DNA from a coffee cup he discarded at Philadelphia International Airport to forensic evidence gathered at the crime scene.
The victim’s aunt and uncle found Biechler’s body in her Manor Township apartment on the evening of Dec. 5, 1975. According to investigators, Biechler suffered 19 stab wounds to her neck, chest, abdomen and back. A knife with a hand towel wrapped around its handle that the attacker appeared to have taken from her kitchen was sticking out of her neck.
Police noted there were signs of a struggle at the victim's residence.
The murder case eventually went cold. A DNA profile that was obtained from semen on the victim’s underwear was entered into CODIS in 2000, but there were no hits.
In January 2019, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Cold Case Unit began reinvestigating the crime, and agents were able to use genetic genealogy to name Sinopoli as a person of interest.
In April, authorities said the DNA collected from the coffee cup Sinopoli discarded at the airport was a match with the forensic evidence obtained from Biechler’s underwear.
Two months later, in June, the suspect’s DNA profile was then matched to that of blood evidence from the underwear, authorities said.
“Lindy Sue Biechler was 19 when her life was brutally taken away from her 46 years ago in the sanctity of her own home,” Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said of the slaying. “This arrest marks the beginning of the criminal process in Lancaster County’s oldest cold case homicide, and we hope that it brings some sense of relief to the victim’s loved ones and to community members who for the last 46 years had no answers.”
Police have not said how or if the victim and suspect knew each other.