A St. Helens man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a 17-year-old girl in 1982.
Kenneth Lee Hicks, 49, was indicted by a grand jury on the charge of aggravated murder Tuesday and arrested on Wednesday. He is in the Washington County Jail without bail.
"It was like a missing piece of the puzzle," said Lori's sister, Vickie Billingsley, who was just 13-years-old at the time of the murder. "Now that I'm so much older I've missed having a sister."
The body of Lori Billingsley was found in a drainage ditch on Southwest Miller Hill Road south of Farmington Road in Aloha on Oct. 10, 1982.
Investigators said the victim was also sexually assaulted.
Hicks, then 19, was identified as a potential suspect in the initial stages of the investigation more than 30 years ago, but there was not enough evidence to charge him with murder.
"He always carried a knife with him and wore army boots," said Vickie Billingsley. "He was very rude to me the day my sister was still missing and I just had a gut feeling."
Investigators said while evidence was collected, DNA testing did not yet exist.
In 1991, evidence from this case was submitted to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab for DNA analysis, but no profile was identified.
In 2010, DNA technology had advanced to allow testing of small or degraded samples of evidence that were previously unable to be tested.
In 2010, sheriff's detectives again submitted evidence from the Billingsley homicide to the OSP Crime Lab for DNA analysis.
A DNA profile was identified but didn't match any people currently in the DNA database.
A cold case detective later served a search warrant to seize DNA from Hicks related to the murder investigation. That sample was sent to the OSP Crime Lab, and investigators said it was a positive match with evidence from the Billingsley case.
Hicks was arraigned in court Thursday. He pleaded not guilty. He is due back in court March 7.
"I would like for him to be truthful not only for us, my family and my sister, but also for himself and his family," said Vickie Billingsley.
Detectives continue to seek information about this case. If you know anything about it or the suspect, call 503-846-2500.
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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