ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – DNA evidence processed nearly 30 years after a 12-year-old Florida girl was killed has led to the arrest of a man police say killed the girl in Hernando County, Florida.
In a statement on Facebook, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis announced that Jeffrey Crum had been arrested for the 1993 murder of Jennifer Odom.
In 1993, like any other day, Odom got off the school bus, according to WFTV.
Odom waved to her friends before walking toward her house, but she never made it home, according to The Associated Press. Some of the children on the bus told investigators at the time that they saw a blue truck slowly following Odom.
Her body was found six days later in an orange grove in Hernando County, the AP reported.
Nearly 30 years later, the sheriff’s office said a DNA match identified Odom’s killer as Crum, 61, WFTVreported. Crum is already serving two life sentences for a 2015 sexual battery and attempted murder conviction case.
Nienhuis said that DNA that was collected from Crum’s past sexual battery history provided them the evidence that they needed to charge him in Odom’s case, WFTV reported.
Florida State Attorney Bill Gladson said that prosecutors will seek the death penalty in Odom’s case, according to the news outlet.
“This is every parent’s nightmare,” Gladson said in the news conference, according to the AP. “I have confidence we have the right person and we have the right aggravators in this particular case to treat it as a death penalty case.”
“All of us, especially those of us in law enforcement, can think of Jennifer as our sister, our niece, our granddaughter and realize, man, this is a tragedy beyond tragedy,” Nienhuis said, according to WFTV.
Crum has been indicted by a grand jury on first-degree murder, kidnapping, and sexual battery charges, Gladson said, the news outlet reported.
Investigators believe that due to Crum’s criminal history, there may be more victims, the sheriff’s office said.
“One case may have found its resolution today, but there are many more still searching for answers. If you remember this face, this man from the 1980′s or 1990′s, and have information to share please call today,” the sheriff’s office said.
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