Arrest made in 1974 Wapello County cold case - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Arrest made in 1974 Wapello County cold case

Robert Pilcher Robert Pilcher
Mary Jayne Jones Mary Jayne Jones

A Des Moines man has been arrested in connection with a 1974 Wapello County cold case.

The Department of Criminal Investigation announced Tuesday night that officers 66-year-old Robert Eugene Pilcher was arrested at the A-1 Motel in Des Moines in connection with the killing of 17-year-old Mary Jayne Jones of Ottumwa.

Officers found Jones' body on April 9, 1974, in a Wapello County farmhouse. Investigators say Jones had been shot to death and sexually assaulted.

The Department of Criminal Investigation says Pilcher's cousin owned the farmhouse and was out of town at the time of Jones' death.  They say Pilcher had access to the house and a car.  Pilcher was interviewed by law enforcement in 1974.

A cold case unit, operated by DCI from 2009-20011 under a federal grant, submitted evidence to the DCI Crime Lab for testing that was not available back in 1974.  They say those tests developed a DNA profile for a suspect that matched Pilcher's DNA profile.

Pilcher is being held in the Wapello County Jail on a $1 million bond.

 The case remains under investigation.

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