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Poplar Bluff, MO -- Heather Flanigan Reports

13-Year-Old Cold Case Solved

September 9, 2005 – Posted at 4:33 p.m. CDT

POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- Advances in forensic technology are allowing new possibilities in police investigations. These high tech, crime fighting techniques have allowed the Poplar Bluff Police Department to re-open and re-examine cold cases. Just this week, the department made an arrest in a 13-year-old case.

It's a case that has baffled investigators since 1992, but in an announcement on Friday, police officials say they've finally got their man.

“On Thursday, May 7th, 1992, a young lady by the name of Laura Ann Wynn was found by her mother murdered in her apartment,” said Poplar Bluff Police Chief Danny Whiteley.

It was a crime that shocked a community, and now today, the suspected killer is behind bars.

“Over 13 years later, the person we feel responsible for this terrible crime was arrested in Jefferson City, Missouri, at the Missouri National Guard headquarters, where he was a Sergeant, First Class,” said Whiteley.

Police arrested 39-year-old Samuel A. Freeman, in Cole County. He faces charges of first-degree murder, which carries a sentence of life without parole or the death penalty.

“There was a sodomy charge that was filed because of evidence collected at the scene. It’s an 'A' felony and carries 10 to life,” said prosecuting attorney Kevin Barbor.

Police were able to solve the 13-year-old cold case using DNA technology, and they are pretty sure they've got the right guy.

Whiteley said, “The possibility that it was someone other than Mr. Freeman in the Caucasian population was about one in 6.131 quadrillion.”

“It brings closure now to a family, and it may give other families hope whose past crimes haven't been solved,” said Poplar Bluff Mayor Lloyd Matthews.

Investigators say they will continue to work on cold case files, and hope DNA technology will help them put more criminals behind bars.

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