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Suspect accused of killing his half-sister with conch shell in 2001 after DNA allegedly connected him to crime

bristol da
Source: Unsplash; Bristol County District Attorney

Jan. 25 2022, Published 10:11 a.m. ET

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A Massachusetts man was arrested for allegedly murdering his half-sister with a conch shell more than two decades ago.

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Investigators believe David Reed, 53, used the shell to fatally beat his half-sister, Rose Marie Moniz, on March 23, 2001.

The victim was found on the bathroom floor of her home in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The case went cold until 2019, when a detective in the district attorney’s Cold Case Unit theorized the attacker would have had to put their hand inside the shell in order to strike Moniz in the face.

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DNA recovered from inside the alleged murder weapon was a match to Reed, and he was recently charged with 41-year-old Moniz’s killing.

“[Moniz] was a mother who was brutally murdered inside the sanctity of her own home,” Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said. “Thanks to the efforts of my Cold Case Unit, along with detectives from our state police unit and New Bedford Police, we were able to bring some sense of relief to the victim’s family, all of whom suffered for the past 20 years from not knowing what happened to Ms. Moniz.”


According to investigators, Reed allegedly used the shell, a fireplace poker and a cast-iron kettle to beat his half-sister to death before he stole cash from her purse.

“I always told my mother and father we're going to find out who it was,” said the victim’s eldest brother, Fred Cunha. “I'm glad they're not here to know because that would have killed them.”

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At the time of his arrest for Moniz’s murder, Reed was being held in connection to an unrelated 2003 incident in which he is accused of armed assault with intent to murder and armed robbery, The Herald News reported.

In that case, Reed is accused of taking a woman to a secluded area in his truck and then allegedly using a tire iron to beat her and steal her pocketbook.

bristol da
Source: Unsplash; Bristol County District Attorney

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