MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — DNA technology has led law enforcement officers to a suspect in the February 1974 killing of a 5-year-old Missoula girl, Missoula Police Chief Jason White said Monday.
DNA evidence from the scene of the killing of Siobhan McGuinness matches that of Richard William Davis, who lived in Arkansas at the time of his death in 2012. He would have been 32 when Siobhan was killed, White said.
Officials believe Davis was traveling through the Missoula area when Siobhan disappeared. Her body was found two days later near the Turah exit on Interstate 90. She had been sexually assaulted.
DNA evidence preserved from the crime scene partially matched the DNA of a family member of Davis, who had sent a sample into a consumer database, officials said. It was the same way officers identified the Golden State Killer.
“I was rather amazed this has happened, but not totally surprised,” said Steve McGuinness, Siobhan's father. “DNA is an amazing thing. That there was enough to make the match. That’s what amazed me.”
Davis’ vehicle at the time of the killing matched a description of a suspect vehicle and his physical description matches what was given by two witnesses, White said.
Davis hasn’t been convicted or suspected of other crimes, White said, but Missoula authorities provided the DNA information to the FBI violent criminal apprehension program to possibly help with other unsolved cases.
Siobhan's half-sister, Oona McGuinness, said Monday that Davis' family reached out to them.
“They sent us a very lovely statement to our family from theirs, and they are also experiencing their own new family tragedy,” Oona McGuinness said. She asked people to respect their privacy “as they are healing right now and had absolutely no idea that somebody that they loved would have been capable of such a thing."
Stephen McGuinness said, through tears, “46 years is a long space of time to be in a state of unending grief and sorrow.”