The police finally made a breakthrough in an unsolved string of murders across multiple states decades ago when DNA evidence identified a serial killer and child rapist from the 1990s – only to find that the killer had committed suicide 20 years ago.
The notorious serial killer attacked several women in the 1990s across the US. His first known victim was 28-year-old Genevieve Zitricki who was found beaten and strangled to death in her bathtub in her apartment in South Carolina, 28 years ago, in April 1990.
In March 1998, the murderer killed a mother and daughter in their farmhouse in Missouri. The police discovered that the mother Sherri Sherer and her 12-year-old daughter Megan were shot dead and that the young child had been raped by the killer.
Police retrieved DNA evidence from both the crime scenes but did not make the connection that all three victims were killed by the same murderer – until 2006, 16 years after Zitricki was killed and 8 years after Sherri and Megan lost their lives.
In 2006, the police found that the DNA evidence in the Zitricki case and the Sherer case matched and discovered that they were looking for a single killer.
Progress was finally made on the cold cases when the evidence from the 1990 case was handed to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for DNA testing. The DNA was found to match the Missouri murders after it was entered into the FBI’s Codus system.
Still, it took more than a decade after this for police to finally identify the serial killer as Robert Brashers of Paragould, Arkansas, when the lab returned their results last August.
Brashers’ criminal record showed that his history of violence against women started long before the Zitricki murder. In the 1990s, Brashers was caught for beating and shooting a woman in Florida.
Brashers’ DNA also matched the rape of a 14-year-old girl in Tennessee in 1997 – one year before 12-year-old Megan Sherer was raped.
In 1999, Brashers killed himself during a police stand-off when he was investigated in a stolen license plate case. He was never a suspect in the murder cases.
The Associated Press reported that DNA swab testing that was conducted on Brashers’ living relatives confirmed that the killer in the murder cases was related to those who were DNA tested.
It was confirmed that Brashers is the culprit in the serial crimes after investigators exhumed his body on September 27 and found that his DNA matche the DNA left at the murder scenes.