Newlywed Debra Reidling's body was found by her husband in 1979, with police later discovering she had been sexually assaulted before the killing. Now, decades after the case had gone cold, an Austin man who worked with her has been indicted for the murder.
Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said Friday that 64-year-old Michael Anthony Galvan has been indicted for the killing of Reidling, according to The Austin American-Statesman. Galvan is being held at the Travis County Jail on a $750,000 bond. He was indicted on one count of capital murder and another count of murder in the sexual assault.
Galvan was considered a suspect in the case in 1979 but was not prosecuted at the time due to insufficient evidence. He has lived and worked in Austin ever since.
Advances in DNA technology led to the break in the case. In 2017, Galvan's DNA was connected to semen found on the victim's robe, according to KXAN in Austin. This discovery ultimately led to Galvan's indictment.
Keith M. Henneke, the case’s lead prosecutor, has praised the efforts of investigators in the case.
“We want to commend the Austin Police Department, specifically the Cold Case Unit, in its perseverance and dedication to this case,” he said.
Reidling was 18 at the time of her death, which occurred just two months after her wedding. She had recently moved from Montana to Austin. Her husband came home to discover her body. It was later determined that she had been strangled after being sexually assaulted.
Reidling and Glavan had been employed by the Montana Mining Company restaurant. Galvan had quit a week before the murder. When he was a suspect, Galvan claimed the two had not known each other at all, but detectives later learned that he had often given Reidling rides home from the job and had been in her home at least twice, according to KXAN.
Police said a recent team-up between the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and the Austin Police Department cold case unit has resulted in the closing of 28 cases, according to the American-Statesman.
[Photo: Austin Police Department]