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Who was Rita Curran? (Murder of Vermont woman solved after more than 50 years using DNA found on a cigarette)Wiki, Bio, Age, Instagram, Twitter & Quick Facts

Rita Curran

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Rita Curran was found strangled to death in her Burlington
By Jennifer Henderson and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

More than 50 years after Rita Curran’s roommate found her strangled to death in her bedroom, Vermont police say they identified the killer using DNA found on a cigarette butt and Curran’s clothing.


Investigators identified William DeRoos, a man who lived in Curran’s Burlington apartment building, as the person responsible with the help of advances in DNA technology and genetic genealogy, city police announced Tuesday. Vermont populated.

DeRoos died of a drug overdose in San Francisco in 1986, police said. The case is now closed.

On the night of the July 1971 murder, DeRoos, who lived with his wife two floors above Curran’s, got into a fight with his wife and left his apartment to “freshen up,” according to an investigative report from the Burlington Police.

Curran, 24, was later found dead, severely beaten after apparently having put up a “fierce struggle,” a detective wrote at the time. Investigators are now “unanimously certain” that DeRoos was responsible, the report released Tuesday says.

But when investigators questioned DeRoos and his wife the next morning, the couple said they had been together all night and heard or saw nothing. After the police left, DeRoos told his wife that if they were questioned again, she should not admit he had left the apartment “or they would come after him” because he had a criminal record, police said during a news conference Tuesday.

A break in the case finally came in 2014 when a DNA profile was extracted from a cigarette butt that had been found next to Curran’s body, Detective Lt. James Trieb said at the news conference. Although the profile was submitted to a national criminal DNA database, he said, no matches were found. That meant the person with that DNA probably never had any genetic material entered into the database, possibly because the person didn’t have a felony conviction.

Investigators then found a living DeRoos half-brother who was willing to provide a DNA sample, and that sample bolstered the conclusion that the DNA from the cigarette belonged to DeRoos, the report says.

Ultimately, investigators found that the DNA left on Curran’s torn gown also matched the DNA on the cigarette butt, the report says. Investigators reinterviewed his then-wife, who admitted that she had lied about DeRoos’s alibi.

At the news conference, acting Burlington Police Chief Jon Murad said the day was “filled with mixed emotions.”

“Ultimately, those emotions are relief, pride for myself (and) this department, but most of all gratitude to a family that has been through an incredible trial for more than half a century,” he said.

The CNN Wire
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