On a cold December evening in 1988, 19-year-old Cathy Sue Swartz was beaten, strangled, and stabbed to death in her Three Rivers, Michigan apartment. Her 9-month-old daughter was in the next room.

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Bloody Foot and Fingerprints Lead to Dead Ends

The Three Rivers Police Department immediately asked the Michigan State Police for assistance in gathering the evidence according to DNASolves.com. Despite a slew of forensic evidence including fingerprints, footprints, and blood.

Despite the comprehensive analysis of this evidence and the exhaustive follow up on leads, the person responsible for Cathy's murder remained a mystery.

Over the years investigators have kept the case open, never closing the case.

ANIRUDH on Unsplash
ANIRUDH on Unsplash

DNA Leads to the Arrest of One of the Original Suspects

Beaufort County
Beaufort County

DNASolves.com says that in 2022, Michigan State Police gave DNA gathered from the 1988 Three Rivers, Michigan crime scene and gave it to Othram. Othram is a DNA testing company that has been a resource for investigators trying close cold cases. The company was able to narrow the DNA to one family. From there investigators fingerprinted, interviewed and DNA tested that family until they found the match, Robert Odell Waters:

This follow up investigation led to the identification of Robert Odell Waters as the prime suspect in Cathy's brutal attack and murder. Waters is now 53 years-old and from Beaufort County, South Carolina. He was arrested on April 30, 2023 and is pending extradition to Michigan to face charges in the murder of Cathy Sue Swartz

In a press release on the Three Rivers Police Department's Facebook page, Police Cheif Scott Boling said:

While nothing can replace the loss of Cathy Swartz, and the impact this senseless tragedy has had, we hope the identification and arrest of a suspect will bring some long awaited closure to her family and friends

Robert Odell Waters was arrested where he lived in Beaufort, South Carolina where he awaits transfer to Three Rivers, Michigan. Upon arrival, he will be formally charged.

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