PONTIAC, Mich. – Investigators say 55-year-old Billy Bennett got away with the crime for almost three decades.
They believe he is the man who sexually assaulted and killed 88-year-old Elnora Barrager at her Pontiac home on Sheffield in 1988.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard is happy to be able to give the victim's family answers after so much time has passed.
"We'll never bring that loved one back, but it's exciting to at least give them that satisfaction of at least identifying the perpetrator and holding them accountable," said Bouchard.
Deputies began taking a closer look at evidence in the cold case last May with the help of the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Laboratory. They say DNA led them to Bennett, who is a career criminal.
"There's a system called CODIS that allows us to go in and look for potential matches, and we found the match," said Bouchard.
The Oakland County Sheriff's Department has been in the process of setting up a DNA testing lab in house so the department won't have to rely on state police anymore. They will be the only local agency in the state to have one.
Sheriff Bouchard said it will help speed up the process of solving crimes.
"Our message is: We never give up. If you're a family member of someone that you have lost, we're not going to quit on the case. We're not gonna quit on you. We're not gonna quit on trying to bring you justice," said Bouchard.