PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Portland Cold Case Detectives announced Thursday that they have solved a nearly 40-year-old murder.
On July 24, 1979, Anna Marie Hlavka, 20, was found dead by her sister inside her apartment, located at 1811 Northwest Couch Street. Police said Hlavka had been sexually assaulted and strangled with the electric cord from her clock radio.
Detectives followed leads and cleared several suspects, but the case eventually went cold.
Then in 2009, retired detective volunteers submitted numerous items of evidence to the OSP Crime Lab for forensic testing.
In 2011, an unknown male DNA profile was discovered from evidence collected at the scene. Police said the DNA profile was deemed "a full profile."
Detectives continued to investigate the case for the next seven years. Then in May 2018, detectives used the same forensic genealogy technology that helped catch the "Golden State Killer."
In October 2018, detectives learned that a forensic genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs was able to map three of the four familial lines of the killer and identified the killer as Jerry Walter McFadden, born March 21, 1948.
According to police, McFadden was a convicted murderer and was executed by the state of Texas in October 1999. Police said McFadden's DNA profile was never entered into the FBI CODIS database for comparison due to his execution date.
Through DNA standards from McFadden's family, the OSP Crime Lab confirmed McFadden was Hlavka's killer.
Police said detectives learned that McFadden had traveled to the Pacific Northwest in 1979 with an acquaintance. The woman reported dropping McFadden off in Portland and having no further contact with him.
According to police, McFadden was convicted of multiple crimes in Texas:
- Sentenced to 15 years in prison for two counts of rape in 1973. Paroled in December 1978.
- Convicted of aggravated sexual abuse after kidnapping and raping an 18-year-old woman at knifepoint. Paroled in July 1985.
- Arrested in May 1986 for the rape and murder of an 18-year-old high school cheerleader, and the shooting of two other people.
- While on trial for murder, McFadden escaped and kidnapped a female corrections officer. McFadden held the woman hostage for three days while eluding authorities in Texas. It was known as "the biggest manhunt in Texas history."
Detectives are continuing the investigation and are asking anyone who might have lived in Portland during 1979 to come forward if they recognize McFadden. Detectives would like to learn more about his whereabouts while he was in Portland.
Anyone who has information about McFadden should contact Detective Meredith Hopper at Meredith.Hopper@portlandoregon.gov.
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