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Unsolved: DNA evidence leads to arrest in 1984 cold case involving a Cheektowaga native

Edward Morgan, 60, is charged with capital murder after DNA testing confirmed he matched the swab taken in the 1984 autopsy.

DALLAS, Texas — After 38 years, an arrest has been made in the murder of a 21-year-old Cheektowaga woman.

Mary Jane Thompson graduated from Cleveland Hill High School and moved to Dallas, TX to pursue her dreams.

"She wanted to be a model," said Mary Jane's sister Donna Book.

On February 13, 1984, her family said Mary Jane was going to a clinic for medical treatment in Dallas.

"When she got there they were closed and then she had taken the bus back and that's when he grabbed her at the bus stop," said sister Selena Tomasello. 

Two days later, Mary Jane's body was found behind a Dallas warehouse. She had been sexually assaulted and murdered on Irving Boulevard.

Nearly four decades went by without an arrest.

"For her life to be ended so fast and so young before she got to become a model, he took that away from her," said Book.

Friday, Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot announced that the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, in collaboration with the Dallas Police Department and the FBI, arrested 60-year-old Edward Morgan.

In 2009, Dallas Police reopened the case and DNA testing was completed on swabs from the autopsy. An unknown male DNA profile was identified but never matched to a specific suspect. The case went cold again.

 In 2020 the FBI joined the investigation task force. The case was submitted for forensic genetic genealogy analysis (FGG), the same technology used to catch The Golden State Killer. Through FGG, Edward Morgan of Dallas was identified as the suspect. This week, DNA testing confirmed he matched the unidentified profile from the swab taken in the 1984 autopsy.

“This case is yet another example of the incredible collaborative effort between the Dallas Police Department, the FBI, and the District Attorney’s SAKI Cold Case team. Working together, we continue to solve the most difficult cold cases that Dallas has ever seen,” said Dallas County Assistant District Attorney and SAKI Chief Leighton D’Antoni. “I look forward to working with all our local law enforcement agencies to utilize the advancements in forensic testing techniques to identify, arrest, and prosecute the most dangerous predators hiding among us. We never, ever forget about these cases, our victims, and their families."

Mary Jane's family hopes this arrest will help give other families in Western New York peace of mind who may not have justice yet.

"It's definitely going to give a lot of people hope that their cases are not going cold forever," said Mary Jane's nephew Ray Book.

"She'll finally be at peace knowing whoever that hurt her that bad is now in jail paying for his crimes and hopefully this way he won't hurt somebody else," said Donna Book.


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