A 43-year-old woman, whose mother was found dead in Reading, Pennsylvania, nearly three decades ago, has finally been locked down as police finally track down the killer – a man who died of natural causes four years ago.
Tamica Reyes was nine years old when the body of her mother, 26-year-old Anna Kane, was found in a wooded area with strings tied around her neck on October 23, 1988. During investigation, police found that the woman had been strangled elsewhere and that her body was Later dumped in the woods.
Shortly after Kane’s death, a local newspaper published a front-page story seeking information about her death. In February 1990, about 15 months after Keane’s death, the newspaper received an anonymous letter from a “citizen concerned,” who happened to know such details as only the killer, police said.
But years passed and the police were unable to find Kane’s killer, leaving Reyes, her two brothers, and her grandmother in the dark for nearly 34 years.
Finally, relief for Reyes recently came in the form of a call from a detective last week who reported that the Pennsylvania State Police used genetic genealogy to identify the killer.
Law enforcement officers said at a news conference last week that a DNA sample from the person’s saliva that licked the envelope containing the letter addressed to the newspaper matched what was found on Kane’s clothes.
However, Reyes’ relief soon gave way to disappointment after learning that her mother’s killer was Scott Grimm, who died at the age of 58 of natural causes in 2018. What saddens her most is the fact that her grandmother died before the case was known. have been resolved.
How did investigators solve the case after 34 years?
Investigators analyzed Kane’s clothes and found traces of the DNA of an unknown man. They later determined that it matches DNA on the envelope from 1990, confirming investigators’ belief that the person behind the letter was the killer.
Authorities said that while investigators had Grimm’s DNA file, there was nothing to identify him because he was never arrested for anything that required his DNA to be put into the system.
Here genetic genealogy came to the rescue of the authorities.
State Police Officer Daniel Womer said at a press conference last week that the effectiveness of genetic genealogy in cold cases depends on the quality of DNA collected from the crime scene and whether it has deteriorated.
The Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant said investigators’ careful preservation of DNA evidence in 1988 provided a solid foundation for investigators to examine with new technology. Nathan Treat at a press conference last week.
“All of those things … were preserved the way they should be, because they probably knew somewhere down the line that whatever they were collecting could be that little clue[to solve the case],” Tratt said.
Investigators don’t know much about Grimm other than that he lived in nearby Hamburg, Pennsylvania.
They are trying to determine if he knows Kane and have urged anyone who knows the nature of their relationship to reach out to her. So far, they haven’t found any connections.
Womer said Kane was working as a prostitute at the time of her murder and may have been meeting with a client, adding that police are trying to determine if she was a Grimm.
The Pennsylvania State Police refused to disclose a 1990 letter to the newspaper or explain exactly what it said.
“There were just intimate details about where she was dumped, how her clothes were shown, and things like that,” Womer said. “This led investigators to believe that whoever wrote the letter committed the murder.”
Now that investigators have identified Grimm’s DNA, Womer said, police will review other open cold cases to see if he was involved.
Old wounds that have not yet healed
Reyes, who now lives in Lynhartsville, Pennsylvania, talked about how Kane was, saying, “She was a firecracker—so honest, not afraid of anything, very honest, blunt and caring.”
Reyes said she is still upset by the media’s portrayal of her mother, who was unemployed at the time of her death.
“She was portrayed as this murdered bitch, as if she deserved what happened to her. It was painful. She was more than that, she was a victim…Nobody deserved what happened to her,” Reyes said.