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Genealogy Test Solves 50-Year-Old Indianapolis Teen Abduction Case

Police in Indianapolis announced a major break in a nearly 50-year-old cold case that involved three hitchhiking girls and one man who detectives at the time said was "hunting" for victims, USA Today reports. The elusive suspect behind the horrific attacks on the young girls in a field was identified in a news conference last week, providing an answer to the investigation decades after it horrified the city. Thomas Edward Wililams — dubbed the 'Slasher' by police and the victims — died at 49 in 1983 inside a prison in Galveston, Tex. At the time of the abduction, Williams lived near the site of the kidnapping. "This was an act of evil that none of (the women) deserved," said retired Indianapolis police Sgt. David Ellison. "I hope today brings you some sort of closure, knowing your attacker has been identified and he's no longer in this world."


Authorities say three girls, ages 11, 13, and 14, were hitchhiking in Indianapolis in 1975 when they were picked up by a man. He took them to a cornfield, where police say he raped the youngest girl and stabbed her in the throat and chest; then slashed the throats of the other two girls. Two of the victims made their way to U.S. 40, where passersby picked them up, took them to a motel, and called authorities. Law enforcement later found the youngest survivor in the cornfield. The three victims — Sheri Rottler Trick, Kathie Rottler, and Kandice Smith — have relentlessly pushed law enforcement to disclose the name of their assailant.    Authorities solved the case through genealogy testing. A DNA match was confirmed with swabs from Williams' daughter and son, leading to his identification as a suspect.

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