Marana Police solve 1987 cold case

maranaOn November 25, 1987, authorities in Marana, Arizona, were led to the body of an unidentified woman, now known to be
Deanna Lee Criswell from Spokane, Washington. Criswell had been shot to death and over the years authorities had been unable to identify her.

Beginning in March 2009, the case was reopened. Due to advances in forensic science and investigation techniques new evidence was developed and tested. In November 2011, DNA tests revealed who the killer was in this case. He turned out to be a convict who was serving a life sentence for a series of armed robberies; this individual died in prison in 2005.

The case once again became cold when the DNA database known as CODIS could not make any match to Criswell’s DNA. Due to information about Criswell and the crime being posted to various social media sites, the Marana Police Department received a lead in the case. A couple in Florida had been looking for their niece when they read about the case on the internet. Photos of the FBI’s facial reconstruction and details of the case convinced them to contact the Marana Police Department.

Their information led to Criswell’s mother, father and step-sister submitting DNA for testing. On February 10, 2015, the Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Lab results returned, and tests showed conclusively that the 1987 murder victim was Criswell.

The Marana Police Department thanked the Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Lab, the FBI Forensic Facial Imaging Unit, the Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Adair Funeral Homes for helping solve this case.

1 Comment

  1. I saw the Marana detective who led this investigation interviewed on TV. Congratulations to him for his outstanding work helping to bring closure to this family. He truly puts the “servant” in public servant.

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