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Cedar Rapids Police close 1971 cold case of Maureen Brubaker-Farley

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - The Cedar Rapids Police announced they closed the 50 year homicide cold case of Maureen Brubaker-Farley.

The Cold Case Unit at the Cedar Rapids Police Department has identified George M. Smith as the suspect in the 1971 murder of Maureen Brubaker-Farley. No prosecution will take place, as Smith is deceased.

Case History

Maureen Brubaker-Farley was 17 years old when her body was found Sept. 24, 1971 in a wooded ravine off of Ely Road SW in Cedar Rapids. She was last seen alive on the morning of Sept. 17. 

When Farley hadn't arrived at work at a diner on 836 First Avenue NE, her boss reported her as missing. A week after she was seen alive, two teenage boys found Farley's body on the trunk of an abandoned car near a landfill that is now Tate Cummins Park. 

Farley was partially clothed, had no shoes on but had clean feet. The autopsy conducted determined Farley was hit in the head. The blow caused a skull fracture, which led to her death. Evidence suggested she had been sexually assaulted. The police state she was carried and placed at the wooded ravine after her death.

Investigation of George Smith

Multiple people identified George Smith as an acquaintance of Farley's, saying he visited the diner she worked at often.

Smith also operated a hauling service, which could've placed him at the site where the body was found. He also reportedly worked at a liquor store next to Farley's apartment. 

According to officer reports, Smith had gone to the police department multiple times to ask about progress in Farley's homicide investigation.

He was interviewed extensively in 1971, according to the CRPD, but was not charged. He also declined a polygraph test.

DNA Analysis

Evidence was collected during autopsy and examination. One piece of evidence included a swab from Farley's body as part of a sexual assault exam. This swab led to a complete DNA profile of the man who assaulted her.

Fifteen men had been eliminated as suspects through DNA comparison. However, George Smith had not. Smith died in 2013, four years after the CRPD Cold Case Unit reviewed the case for more DNA comparison.

The CRPD confirmed a relative of Smith and a search warrant was initiated to collect DNA to compare. Exactly 50 years later, on Sept. 24, it was determined that the DNA profile was George Smith's. This discovery closed the case.

Farley's mother, age 86, was notified of the person responsible for her daughter's murder. Her father died in 2002. She has four surviving siblings. 

In 2019, another Cedar Rapids homicide cold case was closed through DNA matching. Michelle Martinko was found stabbed to death in 1979. Blood found on Martinko was ultimately connected to Jerry Lynn Burns.

READ MORE: Martinko murder suspect found through DNA match in public database

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