DNA evidence leads to arrest in cold case murder: Victim was bridesmaid in suspect’s wedding, police say

texas cold
Source: Texas Rangers; Franklin County jail

May. 7 2021, Published 9:02 a.m. ET

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Nearly three decades ago, Mary Catherine Edwards was murdered in her Texas home.

“It was sad hearing that because she was a real nice lady, and when I did hear it on the news the state that they found her in, that was horrible,” the 31-year-old Beaumont elementary teacher’s former student, Malcom Wells, recently told KBMT.

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In January 1995, Edwards was found drowned in a bathtub with her hands handcuffed behind her back. Police were never able to make any arrests in the case — until now.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by KBMT, investigators used DNA extracted from semen found at the crime scene and recently uploaded it to the genealogy database GEDmatch. They then were able to work their way up a family tree, starting with distant relatives of a possible suspect. 

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Recently, the investigators were able to narrow down their list of suspects to just one person: 61-year-old Clayton Foreman.

“DNA collected from the trash run of Clayton Foreman's residence” in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, “is a match to the DNA extracted from the semen collected from Edwards' body in 1995,” the affidavit states. 

It turned out the two had a close connection: “She was a bridesmaid in his wedding” to his first wife, “so he knew her," Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham told KBMT. 

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Investigators also learned Foreman was arrested and pleaded guilty to a rape in 1981 that had “numerous similarities” to Edwards’ murder, according to the affidavit.

“First, Edwards and the first victim both went to high school with the suspect. Secondly, their hands were bound behind their back. Thirdly, both were sexually assaulted,” the report states.

Foreman faces charges of capital murder and is expected to be extradited back to Jefferson County, Texas.

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