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Seattle Police believe they have identified the killer of a 20-year-old police records clerk, 52 years after she was found raped and murdered in a parking garage elevator at Seattle Center.
Susan Galvin’s body was discovered in July 1967 and although investigators questioned a series of potential suspects—including a professional clown who had been seen with Galvin shortly before her death—the case eventually went cold, according to the Associated Press.
Investigators got a new break in the case after sending DNA found on the victim’s clothes to Parabon NanoLabs last summer. The lab was able to compare the DNA to a public genealogy database GEDmatch to find a potential relative of the killer—much like the process used to identify Golden State Killer suspect Joseph DeAngelo.
Using that process, investigators were able to identify Galvin’s killer as Frank Wypych, a married Seattle security guard who died in 1987 from diabetes complications. He was 26 at the time of the murder and a father of one. He’d eventually go on to have a second child and divorce his wife.
After creating a partial family tree to identify Wypych as a suspect, investigators exhumed his body and were able to match the DNA in his bones to the crime scene this spring.
“Frank Wypych was 100 percent certain to be the murderer of Susan Galvin,” Seattle Det. Rolf Norton told local station KOMO.
Despite the murder occurring more than five decades ago, Norton said the case remained personal for the department because of the victim’s own connection with the police department. Galvin was discovered missing after failing to report to her overnight shift at the police station as a records clerk.
“I think everyone here who worked on this case thought a lot about Susan Galvin,” Norton told KIRO. “Everyone was hopeful that someday we’d come to this end.”
Norton said Wypych was never considered a suspect in the case before the DNA link—and took the secret to his grave. His only conviction before his death had been in 1975 for a weapons offense.
"We're not able to punish him with incarceration but history will hold him accountable," he said. "We know he is the murderer of Susan Galvin and that will be his defining characteristic."
Her brother Lorimer “Larry” Galvin said his sister had left the family’s home just the year before she found murdered.
“[Fifty-two] years later we learn the who, but still have no clear understanding as to the why,” he said in a statement, according to the AP. “There will always be that lingering question.”
Larry Galvin said the loss was felt most severely by his mother—who always tried to keep her surviving children close to her.
“It would be hard for her to lose another child,” he said.
Chris Galvin, another brother, said the crime continued to haunt the family for years.
“At the time, it was a taboo subject in our household,” he said, according to KOMO. “We never knew what happened.”
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